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POEMS/^J "^^ 


i In the House and Out samuel yellen 

2 The Gypsy Ballads of Garcia Lorca 


3 Dry Sun, Dry Wind david wagoner 

4 Songs for a New America charles g. bell 

5 New England Harvest donald c. babcock 

6 The Vegetable Kingdom padraic colum 

7 Kingdom of Diagonals kenneth slade alling 

8 The Reckless Spenders walker gibson 

9 Prefabrications Josephine miles 

io The Deaths at Paragon, Indiana john woods 

i i Delta Return charles g. bell 

i 2 Changes of Garments neil weiss 

13 New and Selected Poems kenneth fearing 

14 An Apology Both Ways richard aldridge 

15 Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral 

translated by langston hughes 

16 A Place to Stand david wagoner 

17 Coming of Age /New & Selected Poems 


1 8 Po ems / 1930-1960 Josephine miles 

19 3° 



by Josephine Miles 

Indiana University Press / i960 


for Family, for Friends 

Acknowledgment is due to The Macmillan Company, New Di- 
rections, Rinehart & Company, and Harcourt, Brace & Company 
for permission to reprint the poems they have published, and to 
the following magazines in which poems from "Neighbors and 
Constellations" have appeared: Beloit Poetry Journal, Experiment, 
Evergreen Review, Furioso, Hudson Review, Harper's Bazaar, 
Kenyon Review, Listen (England), New Yorker, Poetry: A Mag- 
azine of Verse, Poetry Northwest, Perspective, Prairie Schooner, 
Recurrence, Sewanee Review, Voices, Western Review, Yale 

Copyright © i960 by Indiana University Press 
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in 
any form without the permission of the Indiana University Press. 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 60-8916 

Manufactured in the United States of America 



The Sun Is a Reagent 1 3 

Warning 14 

Yours Is a Wind 14 

Desert 1 5 

On Inhabiting an Orange 1 5 

Portrait of the Artist 1 6 

Physiologus 1 6 


Herald 19 

$7,500 20 

Solo 20 

Seer 2 1 

Lark 22 

Tehachapi South 2 2 

After This, Sea 2 3 

Men Friday 24 

Upon Twelve 24 

Driver Saying 25 

Approach 25 

Enlightenment 26 

Passion 26 

For Futures 27 

Row 27 

Portrait 27 

Premiere 28 

Analysis of Compound 28 

Made Shine 29 

Center 30 



Market Report on Cotton Gray Goods 3 1 
Committee Report on Smoke Abatement in 

Residential Area 3 2 
Government Injunction Restraining Harlem 

Cosmetic Co. 3 3 
Moonrise in City Park 34 

Beach Party Given by T. Shaughnessy for the Sisters 34 
Peak Activity in Boardwalk Ham Concession 3 5 
Polo Match. Sunday, 2 p.m. 36 
Radio Request Program on a Wet Day 3 6 
Committee Decision on Pecans for Asylum 3 7 
juke Box Serenade 38 
Art Gallery Closing Time 3 9 
Now That April's There 3 9 
The Lighting of the Street Lights 40 
The Lighting of a Small Fire in the Grate 40 
Moonrise in a Lumber Yard 4 1 
Nine O'Clock Show 41 
Preliminary to Classroom Lecture 42 
Preliminary to Action 42 
Purchase of Lodging for the Night 42 
Purchase of a Hat to Wear in the Sun 43 
Purchase of a Blue, Green, or Orange Ode 44 


So Graven 45 
Contained 46 
Bloom 46 
Flag Level 47 
Housewife 47 
Still Life 48 
In Air 48 
Gypsy 49 
Opal 49 
Friend 50 


Well Made 51 

Man of Letters 5 1 

Forecast 52 

Denial 52 

Hero 53 

Merchant Marine 5 3 

Tourists 54 

Players 54 

Dolor 55 

The Thoroughgoing 55 

The Sympathizers 56 

Midwatcher 56 

Caller 57 

Loser 58 

Control 58 

Photographer 59 

Visage 59 

Look 60 

Character 60 

Prediction 6 1 

Conduct 61 

Lucifer Alone 62 

What Followed 62 

All Hallow 63 

Corner 63 

Confidence 64 

Midweek 64 

Redemption 65 

Outside 6$ 

Concerto from Above 66 

Bounty 66 

Act V 67 

Dancer 67 

The Disturbed 68 

Subdivision 69 

Illumination 69 

Forward 70 

None 7 1 



Bombay 73 

Son 74 

Career 74 

Winter 74 

Siege 75 

Lore 75 

Holiday 76 

The Day the Winds 77 

Evangel 77 

Sale 78 

Find 78 

Summer 79 

Rain 79 

Riot 80 

Belief 80 

Barge 8 1 

Two Kinds of Trouble (For Michelangelo) 

City 89 

Ride 90 

The Halt 91 

Dialectic 9 1 

Reason 92 

Moon 92 

Bibliographer 93 

Headless 93 

Education 94 

Student 95 

Apartment 96 

Improbable Time 96 

Heldenleben 97 

Grandfather 97 

Ten Dreamers in a Motel 98 

The Plastic Glass 1 o 3 

Statute 103 

Meeting 1 04 

Pride 104 


Idea of Joy 105 
Bird 106 
May 106 
Bell 107 
Bush 107 
Graham-Paige 108 
Eyesight 108 
Autumnal 109 
Expectation 109 
Expense no 
Matter of Fact no 
Selected Essay no 
Height 1 1 1 
Riddle 1 1 1 
Heir 1 1 2 
Kind 1 1 2 


A Foreign Country 1 1 3 

The Campaign 1 2 2 

Yard 125 

School 126 

Dialogue 126 

Message 127 

Increment 127 

Three Stages 128 

Meteorology 128 

Italian 129 

Personal Appearance 1 2 9 

Curriculum 129 

Wreck 130 

Drift 1 3 1 

Confessed 1 3 1 

Accident 1 3 1 

Tally 1 3 2 

Visiting Hour 1 3 3 

Orderly 133 


Tide 134 

Mercury 1 3 5 

Exterior 1 3 5 

Care 136 

Shade 136 

Conjure 137 

Four Songs 137 

Location 139 

Dream 139 

To Make a Summer 1 40 

Goal 140 

View 141 

Brooklyn, Iowa, and West 1 4 ; 

To Time 144 

Sheep 146 

Fish 146 

Panther 147 

Monkey 147 

The Savages 148 

Sisyphus 149 

Wings 1 50 

Reception 1 5 1 

Oedipus 151 

David 152 

Rule 152 

Voyage 153 

Maxim 1 54 

Gift 154 

Deed 155 

Resistance 156 

Vacuum 156 

Universe 157 

Berg 157 

Heaven 158 

Speed 159 

Generation 159 


POEMs/l 93O-1960 


The Sun Is a Reagent 

The sun is a reagent, the sun is an accomplice, 
The sun is a party of the third part. 
How cold ingredients before the sunrise, 
How still the seeds at heart! 

We have a haystack and a doorstep whitening, 
We have a shutter splintering finer, 
And surer signs of fruit more warmly brightening 
With the sun co-signer. 

How quick the compound now that it is daybreak, 
How firm the bargain with this light to light it! 
Now we have both experiment to make, 
And words to write it. 



I have a sea to lie on, deep as breathing, 

Swept as a wave unbreaking in its rise. 

The silver foam of oat seed blown and wreathing 

Rides in a smother of waters on my eyes. 

Should you come down the green hill behind me, 
Searching lightly, walking the hidden ground, 
Breath deep under the grass tops you would find me, 
Unquestionably drowned. 

Yours Is a Wind 

Yours is a wind even the beanfields bend before. 
Branches that smell of sky 

Lean with a creaking sigh under its lofty blowing, 
Under its passing by. 

Grass in the marsh bends its lean back to the salt wet, 

To the bitter frost. 

And the black tossed heads of rushes lifting to the sunlight 

Break and are lost. 

Stones on the hill shrug up their shoulders stiffened and cold. 

You will not be content 

With boughs rent out of heaven forever and ever, 

With stones bent. 

Your wind will come out of the high places and pathways 

To the dust's dim core. 

Leaf by leaf, silver and small, yours is a wind 

The beanfields bend before. 



When with the skin you do acknowledge drought, 
The dry in the voice, the lightness of feet, the fine 
Flake of the heat at every level line; 

When with the hand you lean to touch without 
Surprise the spine for the leaf, the prickled petal, 
The stone scorched in the shine, and the wood brittle; 

Then where the pipe drips and the fronds sprout 
And the foot-square forest of clover blooms in sand, 
You will lean and watch, but never touch with your hand. 

On Inhabiting an Orange 

All our roads go nowhere. 
Maps are curled 

To keep the pavement definitely 
On the world. 

All our footsteps, set to make 
Metric advance, 
Lapse into arcs in deference 
To circumstance. 

All our journeys nearing Space 
Skirt it with care, 
Shying at the distances 
Present in air. 

Blithely travel-stained and worn, 
Erect and sure, 
All our travelers go forth, 
Making down the roads of Earth 
Endless detour. 


Portrait of the Artist 

Being a paper blown into the street, 
Printed upon, read somewhat, 
I stir with a delight in sound, 
Finding cement a cool resting place. 

To the blue shadows of the trees nobody cries, 
"Get up out of the street, play on the porch!" 
Nobody picks the sunlight off the curb 
Fearing to find it broken by rubber tires. 

Like these I take comfort in white pavement; 
More than these, I can be caught by wind, 
Borne down hills, corner round corner, up roofs even, 
Torn, torn by the long drag of the streets. 

More than these, though torn and eventually lost, 
I have a body to be caught by wind, 
Curious, nerved, aware of crisp dimension, 
On all these streets the truest traveler. 


When the mind is dark with the multiple shadows of facts, 
There is no heat of the sun can warm the mind. 
The facts lie streaked like the trunks of trees at evening, 
Without the evening hope that they may find 
Absorbent night and blind. 

Howsoever sunset and summer bring rest 
To the rheumatic by change, and howsoever 
Sulphur's good medicine, this can have no cure — 
This weight of knowledge dark on the brain is never 
To be burnt out like fever, 


But slowly, with speech to tell the way and ease it, 
Will sink into the blood, and warm, and slowly 
Move in the veins, and murmur, and come at length 
To the tongue's tip and the finger's tip most lowly 
And will belong to the body wholly. 




Delivers papers to the doors of sleep 

Tosses up news upon the shores of sleep 

In the day's damp, in the street's swamp wades deep 

And is himself the boy drowned, drowned with sleep. 

Crosses to the corner with the lamp 

Already dark, even asleep the lamp, 

Treads in the wet grass, wares, leaps as in swamp 

The gutters dark with darkening of the lamp 

Hears only the thud and thud against the doors 
Of the news falling asleep against the doors, 
The slip and drip of mist on the two shores, 
Sees without light or sight the coasts of doors. 


Sees at a door a light, Herald, Sir? 

Wakes to the whistle and light, Herald, Sir? 

To the latch lifted and the face's blur 

Wakes; wakes coin, day, greeting, Herald, Sir. 

I cannot tell you what a bargain this is, 
Built at a cost of seven thousand, selling 
For seven five, and all utilities 

In, and trees. 
Landscaped front and back, strings up for lawn, 
Tiled, wrought-iron fixtured, entrance hall 
With an echo, echo, echo, beamed ceiling, 

And a Southern feeling. 
Marvellous in this spring month, in this empty field, 
Out of already forgotten hammers, hands compressed, 
So like a snowdrop sprung, white, delicate, and new, 

With a mountain view. 


The structure of music as an art behind that morning glory 
Behind that oak door is perpetually refounded, 
Sets to in the fresher hours toward recognition, 
Is this I? and is astounded. 

The bar laborious rises above the breadman's whistle, 
It is I, it is music written and revealed. 
In the half step and broken note, am I wrong? no, it is I 
Loud though concealed. 

In this eventual song, this etude, this caprice Espagnole 
Is not a mountain, not a wind or breath, nor a morning glory or 


Yet hear in the way it is piling up it is sometimes I 
That the keys are climbing for. 

I swear it will win through the kimono sleeves and the street's ply, 
By whatever chances music is surprised, 
And will set up in the vines, along the wind, sound that is I, 
Founded and recognized. 


The psychic metaphysician sat tight in the white 

Shine of the rocks outside Riverside, 

It was like living in a world of mirrors 

The left hand rocks and leaves so took the light, 

The left of cornflakes in the kitchenette 

So took the light. 

Is it wind or is it a new year, asked the psychic metaphysician 

Resting his hand upon the parlor chair, and the flare 

Of answers long lying in that dust dazzled him, 

The left hand cups and mirrors so took the light, 

It was like living in a world of answers 

The hand so took the light. 

I shall be prodigal with thine information, 
The psychic metaphysician knelt and spelt, 
Changing fifty cents to forty on his sign, 
It swung against the porch and took the light, 
It was like living in a world of sight 
The sign so took the light. 



Lark hit us in the face with his rising sound. 
We were unstruck by wind before and raced 
Train, and saw all signs with one eye only, 
And were shelled against sky 
And all that we went by. 

Now lark said something in the field and we heard it, 

And it mounted and rode upon our ears as we sped. 

And we heard windshield rattle and canvas creak thereafter 

And pondered every line 

Of hill and sign. 

Tehachapi South 

Tehachapi south down with dust in the mouth 
And hills that spin under wheels, 
Wild lilac gray, and sunflowers sick of the sun, 
And the grade run. 

Faint in the ears like a shout the shifting of gears 
High on the grade behind, and ahead 
Easing out on the road that takes again 
The smooth speed of the plain. 

The earth bent up into folds yellow and spent 
Now passes in pale grass 
To a new horizon, farther and more neat, 
Cut clean with heat. 

The round high pipes following low ground, 
Lying apart, bear at heart 

Water, water, for men's throats. And the breath 
Of the town is in the teeth. 


After This, Sea 

This is as far as the land goes, after this it is sea. 
This is where my father stopped, being no sailor, 
Being no Beowulf, nor orient spice hungry 
Here he let horizons come quietly to rest. 

What he fled is past and over, 
Raftered roof and quilted cover, 
The known street and the known face, 
The stale place. 

This is as far as the land goes, here we are at length 
Facing back on the known street and face, all flight 
Spent before our time in building the new towns, 
Letting these last horizons come quietly to rest. 

We have a special pressing need 
We of the outer border breed 
To climb these hills we cannot flee 
To swim in this sea. 

This is as far as the land goes, here the coast ranges 
Hard and brown stand down to hold the ocean, 
Here the winds are named for saints and blow on leaves 
Small, young, yellow, few, but bound to be ancestral. 

Nowhere are so still as here 
Four horizons, or so clear. 
Whatever we make here, whatever find, 
We cannot leave behind. 


Men Friday 

This water is for ships, that they cleave it, 

That the grooves leap 

Cleanly at the bow and clearly leave it, 

As freight is borne upon the face of the deep. 

This ground is for feet, that they tread it, 
That commerce start 
In the dust, and the feet spread it 
Counter to counter, paradise to port. 

Came ever out of the blue a free faring 
Wind upon this strand, 

It would start and wonder at the sea bearing 
Keel prints, at the heel prints in the sand. 

Upon Twelve 

Now has been contrived in the increasing noonday 
Some show of order wherein to be at rest, 
Some stilling of the need that space be tended 
That time be pressed. 

Where in our path was the ambitious clutter of morning, 
The leaf shadow and stir, the brush and broom, 
Now at the base of trees is a clean sunlight, 
At the door, room. 

We shall sit with minds quiet, with the loftiness, though cooler, 

That the sun has for its meridian, 

In the fine short space before the roof eastward 

Darkens again. 


Driver Saying 

Lady hold your horses, sit down in your seat, 
Wrap your feet around the leg of the chair, 
Even in my heart I can feel your heart beat. 

We move, however, on schedule of need 

Of the general public, see, standing on the corner there, 

Holding hats, lifting canes, cutting down our speed. 

Lady calm down, we'll be stopping and starting 
On your nerves and my brakes ten corners more, 
There'll be plenty feet to watch climbing up and departing. 

There is also a good signboard at the Filmart 

To look at and keep your mind on when we pass there. 

Lady, even in second I can hear your heart. 


The hosiery salesman walking up the hill 
Holds out for mercy and receives it not, 
Perceiving at the top against his will 
How flat the blocks ahead are and how hot. 

How from porch to porch and hedge to hedge 
In neo-Spanish neatness of design 
There is a long perspective of arch and edge 
Of roof and step and little out of line. 

These doors will close to his toe one like the rest, 
The cool interiors be black to his sight, 
No eager discourse on what silk is best 
Will sound in his ears right. 


How shall a man proceed among the noises 
Of scooters, rakes, and babies on the lawn 
When the sober Spanish doors and the cool voices 
Reject all small familiars but their own? 


I wish we could take a statistic with more grace, beloved, 
I wish it would circle out in our minds to the very brim, 
And we could be illumined by data one by one, as by candles, 
As by the cheerful faces of cherubim. 

But see we respond only to archangelic doctrine, 

Look up and glow at the actual pronouncement of grace, 

Swallow at once all the high powered radiance, 

And let the commandments shine upon the face. 

This is a tremendous lot of revelation we gather, 
Beloved, and beam at it in the proper spirit. 
Nevertheless I wish we had one or two facts to go by, 
And a less arclighted kingdom to inherit. 


Hobbes spoke among the ball cries, telling what 

Was passion. 

In the sixth inning, the interior beginning 

Of voluntary motion. 

Bat crack and book debate were underblent, 
Though blocked apart, 
Moving together from eyes, ears, and other 
Organs to the heart. 


For Futures 

When the lights come on at five o'clock on the street corners 
That is Evolution by the bureau of power, 
That is a fine mechanic dealing in futures: 
For the sky is wide and warm upon that hour, 

But like the eyes that burned once at sea bottom, 
Widening in the gloom, prepared for light, 
The ornamental standards, the glazed globes softly 
Perceive far off how probable is night. 


Some of the roofs are of Hopi Indian decision, 

They cut square into the sky with plaster, 

The tan edge going up two stories past the windows 

And turning north and east for straight cement horizon. 

Some have old noble English temper peaked, 
Alternate red and green shingles but getting the drift, 
Gabled to peer out of a possible anciently fallen snow, 
And clear superior against gray sky. 

All of them look west and take in sunset, 
Keep their ferns warm the length of supper, 
Sparkle their cups of milk and all accompany 
With aerial music that evening sun go down. 


Aloof the walnut will not sit and sing, 

It is no joyful thing. 

Build it a fire and further harvest bring, 

It will not lift a wing 

But sits in shell and will not sing. 


Oyster is so too and will have none of your star, 
It slips at bar 

It slides for the celebrants of months with r, 
Wherein the twig smoke haze, berry, walnut are, 
And will not have your star. 

You can get mountains to sing harvest home 

And cows to come 

And the obliging red to ride the wind with some 

Festival note, but shell will shelter dumb 

The unstarred communicants of harvest home. 


The searchlights ask the stars nothing 
Among them going, 
Tell them nothing, their sign of show 
Being for more particular sight below. 

Show, show, say they to the sight 

Through the lamplight, 

Raying cloud, cloud, and cloud to wake and start 

The after dinner heart. 

There is stir in the driveways and rustle of departing, 
With the hearts starting, 

And sight can almost see, ear hear, at the lights' core 
Gathering, shining, what the lights are searching for. 

Analysis of Compound 

What would you think to call the texture of water? 
Sitting with your feet swinging over it, 
High with your hands clinging over it, 
What would you say was water? 


First black, the blackest ever. 
No dark on dark could cover it, 
No dark wool, dream, drought cover it. 
First black is water. 

Then cold, than the sleet colder, 
Starting from head to feet the long shiver 
Like the long ripple of snow wind down a river, 
Then cold is water. 

Then wide, with a last horizon but no measure, 
So far your eyes must falter and then leave it, 
So deep your eyes must see and not believe it. 
Then wide is water. 

Then wet? That is a different substance altogether. 
That for the thirst, cloth, shower to discover. 
This untouchable landscape that you lean over, 
This black cold wide, is water. 

Made Shine 

This face had no use for light, took none of it, 
Grew cavernous against stars, bore into noon 
A dark of midnight by its own resources. 

Yet where it lay in sleep, where the pillow held it 
With the blind plaster over it and the four walls 
Keeping the night carefully, it was undone. 

Sixty-watt light, squared to a window frame, 
Across a well of air, across wind and window 
Leaped and made shine the dark face in its sleep. 



What they had at their window was earth's own shadow, 
What they had on their garden, bloom's intermission, 
Slept in the car the graceful far. 

Slept in the breast a city and statewide rest, 
Ran at the wrist time strapped and glassed, 
They had eyes closed tight in a central standard night. 



Market Report on Cotton Gray Goods 

Cotton gray goods quiet and firmer 

Sold in small amounts at steady prices. 

Some were unaware at distance from the market 

How those bolts reflected prepossessed their cost per head 

And quieted. 

Raw silk was unchanged and rayon yarns actively 
Lapped up demand that firmed to cream just, 
Rose with time just topping at the market, 
A calm waylaying and surrendering, a portion sped 
And quieted. 

Wool goods mills started showing suitings, 
Bustled up a test drama of art and taste, 


The higher life at slightly higher prices 

Suggested by an exact at-homeness of stripe, bred 

And quieted. 

After luncheon the stocks prevailed further 
In a muted influence and exercise of will 
Tanging the office airs like manifests 
Of season, which they were, unfolding spread 
And quieted. 

Conveyed not only crop but moon quarter, 
State of mortgage, not only ground but floor 
Of wage, put over to mind the color of climate, 
Fence-rail and stool both, corn and boughten bread, 
Yet quieted. 

Conveyed, so listening was that atmosphere, a dry 
Air that comes seldom at seaboard but then has absorbed 
A catalogue of some possible warm accents and beliefs, 
Conveyed warp brought to grief and packing rioted 
Yet quieted. 

Quieted in the streets of afternoon the dry interior air, 
Occasioning a steadying of burlap in the late day, 
Through the good offices of the rolls themselves 
Their own substantial nature weaved and undersaid 
And quieted. 

Committee Report on Smoke 
Abatement in Residential Area 

Prevailing winds in this area blow 

The fume of life away. 

The mesh bag carriers when they go to shop 

Can look around the day. 


A ceiling blue maintains a working breath 
Of ozone in the street, 
And blinds blow inward with a birdy note 
Of sun complete. 

However, three or four months out of the year 

Prevailing winds abate, 

And the smoke of interest enters 

Closet however strait. 

Today is such a one. Some off in the smoke 

Keep the miles dim. 

And some at home bake black enough for the 

kids when they get there 
Bread of the brothers Grimm. 

Government Injunction 
Restraining Harlem Cosmetic Co, 

They say La Jac Brite Pink Skin Bleach avails not, 
They say its Orange Beauty Glow does not glow, 
Nor the face grow five shades lighter nor the heart 
Five shades lighter. They say no. 

They deny good luck, love, power, romance, and inspiration 
From La Jac Brite ointment and incense of all kinds, 
And condemn in writing skin brightening and whitening 
And whitening of minds. 

There is upon the federal trade commission a burden of glory 

So to defend the fact, so to impel 

The plucking of hope from the hand, honor from the 

Sprite from the spell. 


Moonrise in City Park 

Here you have sky high one wall 

And one at its shoulder to the sixth floor, 

Here you have the two story house with the colonial door; 

And says the sign, Beauty Culture, 

Beauty Culture, says the sign. 

Here you have the stack of dentist offices, 

Here shoulder high the Philharmonic wall: 

The nice culture of the mouth and music. Over all 

The sign glows beauty, 

Beauty, glows the sign. 

Here rises from the blank and black the moon, 

The blond beauty at the colonial door, 

The bright blond face ascending from the sixth floor, 

With the sign suggesting culture, 

Culture, suggesting the sign. 

From this park bench look up and say divine, 
To the dark levels speak and say divine, 
To the moon whisper also and say divine, 
And the sign will join you, saying Beauty 
Culture, saying the sign. 

Beach Party 

Given by T. Shaughnessy for the Sisters 

Seven nuns went wading in the sea, 

They wore no shoes, 

They lined up along the shore and the shore washed out 

And flooded back to the very knee. 

A rough but good shore and sea. 

The seaweed and the wimple habits were, 
Close and alive, 


Both cumbrous but of will designed and worn. 
For every nun the sea was good to her, 
And alike their habits were. 

It was so rough a day, like cormorants more 

You would have thought 

The nuns would take to nest, but still they cried and stayed. 

They were like to the devout sea, and to the shore 

They sisters were. 

Peak Activity 

in Boardwalk Ham Concession 

What was that they heard past the peal 

Of the booth's bells and the squeal 

Round the turned edges of the wide red sucker? 

Past the surf of the game wheel 

The surf of ocean. 

Here's your hot ham folks, tells 

To the peal of the booth's bells, 

To the round red face round the red sucker, 

The driven voice that spells 

Ham to the ocean. 

What was that the licker heard 

That her tongue slow on the third 

Round tasted there more of salt than strawberry sucker, 

Marking without a word 

The lick of ocean? 

Here's the turn of the wheel folks, cries 

To the wheel's fall and rise, 

To the fall of dimes and the face of the all day sucker, 

The driven voice to the rise 

And fall of ocean. 


Polo Match. Sunday, 2 P.M. 

Polo has that gravy look game, 

Tough brushed out and thus adaptable, 

Rare, but thick and springy, 

Thought up as a grist well chewed by a gold tooth. 

The soppers of that gravy save all Sunday for it 
And picnic at its bounds; they sit on Sunday papers 
And pay no fee but the warning distant gasp 
Of the multitude so good for a good pony. 

Polo picks up an area of turf and takes it 
Right down the lines, it biases the natural green, 
It goals the very day, with evidence 
Of practice flavoring that efficiency. 

Riders have the watchers licking chops, 
Not only in the pleased way of relatives and friends, 
But in the ready gust of the professional eaters 
Taking the taste up deftly from a distance. 

Gravy, gravy of the haunch and flexion 

Sliding and righting, at a chewable degree 

Soaks down the Sunday aft in a feast for the breadwinners, 

The bread winners winning it all up deep to saturation. 

Radio Request Program on a Wet Day 

Black afternoon tarnishes heather rightly, 
Lays it up against the wet walls, crumbled. 
The spots of mist make up their patterns over 
Windows and doors and color of the heather. 

John and Betty my bonnie, and Joan of Fremont High 
Have a recording requested and anticipation sweeping 


Like an offshore sun and wind, and it blows and sparkles 
Over the speaker, that created weather. 

Clouds lowered right down in the street under the tires 
Make up their sound in swish and drip devices, 
Black and glowering muffle, but we muffle no inch. 
Ride, red, my bonnie and my weather. 

Blanker skyline never presented itself 
To a home loving neighborhood, the hills all hid, 
Streaks on the trees and doormats. But rock it all away, 
Meditationous offbeat, pay off of weather. 

Committee Decision on Pecans for Asylum 

Orphans are to have instead of walnuts 

From a state two thousand and twenty miles distant, 

Pecans from home. 

The Santa Claus committee up and authorized 
One ton of black walnuts for the orphan stockings 
But found ton bottom bad. 

Took the word of the agricultural inspectors 
Somebody had been led on a bad buy 
Pulling the whiskers of the jolly saint. 

Tossed out the lying samples suitable and savory, 
Eligible for orphans, and acknowledged 
Better pecans from home. 

Orchards of home, the orphan house and home own, 
Sweeten in the cold for their first hard teeth, 
The fluted sweet brittle and home grown 
Substance in sheath. 


Kernels of home, frosting with Christmas cheer, 
Crispen not for an individual mantel and tongue 
But a massed patriot lunge and lick this year, 
The hungry younger democrat so does long. 

Shake out intending crackle over that brisk brick, 
Making to matron and minor mildly known 
How under the burnish and the bluff of stick 
The sweet is grown. 

The committee saint withdraws the possibility 
Of a foreign exotic flavor for the ribs, 
Of black nut crack, 

And goes back of necessity to its original and time tried 
Local lesson of the nature of good 
Pecans from home. 

Juke Box Serenade 

How different is air 
Uprooted out of sound 
And set awhile to starve 
In absolute quietness. 

How different from this. 

This drinks the ardor up, 
It stems its life the less, 
Fronds in the early dark 
The altitudes of brass. 


Art Gallery Closing Time 

Steps never went away so far as when they carried 
Mr. and Mrs. Smith out of the gallery of the museum of art. 
Steps went down out of morning and one could not turn round and 
ascend them. 

They went down into evening out of the gallery of the palace of art 

And so brought one into Mr. MacGregor's chaos, 

A fine thriving city with cartracks and stop signs every which way. 

They went out into the red network of evening, 
One white marble portion after another nimbly rounding 
Away from the morning marshes and flamingoes in the palace of the 
legion of art. 

Now That April's There 

Coming up to the boulevard stop on the slant, 
The poplars standing off along, 
The white proceeding and as white crossed, 
One would have to look a west sun in the eye. 

Picking up after La Cienega the long quiet, 
The porch lights flying, still as they are, 
The cars staying along the curb north and south quiet, 
One would have to go straight chin deep in light on the 
level tracts. 

Stopping for ice, bouncing in short against the red paint, 
The store building facing up like a bastille, 
One would have to get breath to look off down the street, 
Down the low roofs, races of pavement, meadows of evening. 


And so I would if there I were, there I would take 

One into another the long flat avenues of the angels, 

Lower than the west light, the luminous levels, 

There through the shiny shallows remember that one dimension. 

The Lighting of the Street Lights 

Corinthian is the light they see by, 
It renews Corinth in the fall of blue, 
Polishing the car tops and the carob trees 
In marble custom and the linear shade. 

When they run out to get ice cream it is the light that 

shines over them, 
Fluted in length; it illumines 

The face of the mantel clock when no one asks the time, 
Abides that round of dark over them. 

It is white on pedestal in classic vein 

In the first pitching of morning when they come home elate, 

Column burning with a cool ancient flare, 

The light they see by, the Corinthian. 

The Lighting 

of a Small Fire in the Grate 

When oak is burning, that is warming 

At earth's fire, grown up in wood and established. 

What when 

Newspaper stews and fizzles in the grate? 

That, let a Barrymore conclude, is a wet humanity, 
A print of a thousand feet and eyes, all damp 
But lit 
To keep a spirit flaring at its heat. 


That is history not yet a wood, but a good 
Pulp nipping at the flame, a personal endeavour 
Of persons in the news 
To serve and blaze. 

Moonrise in a Lumber Yard 

New wood under the sun will blister for heat 
And split for dryness, warped in the woodyard, 
Under the satellite it does not blister or split 
But lies as cut, neat hard and fit. 

The satellite implies to the new wood this 
That it will have to take no nails nor saw in its side, 
No nor filler nor prime nor what coat you please, 
But lie as it is, wide and at ease. 

The satellite assures with its frank white address 
That this is what the wood is hewn for and displayed, 
To repose in the glimmer and shine in the yards stacked, 
In the balmy press inlaid, intact. 

Nine O' Clock Show 

Going into the show one heard nothing but closing sounds, 

Doors closing, shutters drawing down, 

Except before the palace and ice cream parlor 

One heard the closing of the town, 

One heard the shades and shops and nightfall drawing down. 

But after Harlow listen what has arisen, 

The rustle of feet in leaves and leaves in black, 

The suck of straws and slam of a screen door rising, 

Rising the racket of frogs in the waking black, 

In the town in the field in the heart and the whole way back. 


Preliminary to Classroom Lecture 

My quiet kin, must I affront you 

With a telling tongue? 

Will not a mission or request content you 

To move as you belong 

The fields of doubt among? 

The voice to burden down a tale upon you 

Were indolent with din. 

Would better ask and have the answer from you. 

And would you then begin 

Querying too, querying, my quiet kin? 

Preliminary to Action 

Magnifico Martin that dream dreamer lightly 

Wrote his order in water and blew on it with his breath 

To cool it, Magnifico Martin, waiting for the steam to congeal. 

Came Monday, icicles on the bush, cubes in the icebox, 

Frost on the stair, defroster in the tank, 

The brew got cool enough and Martin drank it down. 

Purchase of Lodging for the Night 

Evil hemmed the curtains and swung in with them slightly 
When slightly the western air blew in. 
Evil starched the pillow, it was evil 
So firmly feathered. 

Tourist from high road came in and put his bag down, 
Washed his face, read his magazine, 


And there came evil numbering the page twenty, 
Singing in the light bulb. 

All night turned when he turned, looked across the mirror, 

Crowed at cock-crow, 

But lay still in the linoleum and hem of curtain 

When he went down to breakfast. 

Purchase of a Hat to Wear in the Sun 

Sombrero is comfort because it keeps thought under foot, 
Keeps the personal shadow to heel, 
Keeps the stride covered, 
Covers brain cosily from reel. 

Paces along in a degree of sun put to it 
To force hard, and under, the addle pate, 
And yet filters all that compulsion 
Compelled to its own colonial gait. 

Provides the porch of shade and colonnade for thought 
To rock in, surveying the domain not too continuously, 
And steadies spot of domain out of sun, 
Even where's none other to survey. 

Tips the sombrero on, the mortal booted, 

And travels under it, thinking 

Just enough coolly and in shadow 

To survive under blessing without blinking. 


Purchase of a Blue, Green, or Orange Ode 

Jake's store past Pindaric mountain 

Over the wash is the only place in a day's ride 

To get odes at except close to Mesa City side. 

He has one glass a dusty one there 

Full of blue green and orange odes sticky but o k, 

And many come by on that account that way. 

Scramble down off the hot flats, swallow a lot of universal wind, 

Hear that lone freight pushing around sandy acre, 

And they need for the slow swipes one green jawbreaker. 

A slug of sweet, a globe of a barber's pole, 
A suck of a human victory out of a crowd, 
Sugared, colored, out of a jar, an ode. 



So Graven 

Simplicity so graven hurts the sense. 
The monumental and the simple break 
And the great tablets shatter down in deed. 

Every year the quick particular jig 
Of unresolved event moves in the mind, 
And there's the trick simplicity has to win. 



The beautiful intense light of intense morning 
Allows the fullest speculation toward the day, 
The reach of every hand and hope outward 
To come what may. 

The noon the afternoon the night and after 

Are all implied in the free life of green, 

And morning's self-contained. But looks to windward 

For more to be seen. 

Neither events complete nor sun's attainment 
Are enough thought for the green to gather in. 
It's the pure black hope of morning so greens it, 
The notion of again. 


The steamfitter comes home in a pink cloud plainly 
Keeps his helmet clapped on his head vainly, 
It's a new day, season, and 7 A.M. only. 

The quinces ripen in their most lurid blossoms, 
They thicken on every side the streetcar pathways, 
The dogtired steamfitter gets home between them. 

One plush of quince at his own door he will doff to, 
Take in the dawn his hard steel helmet off to, 
But bush will not bend or petal blow, it's so early. 


Flag Level 

World at flag level rides ambitious ride, 
The seagull air there flaps from side to side 
And the terrific brink is countrified. 

That's why so much dreamed up at flag level 
Comes to completion in the yards lower, 
In a paved world busier and slower. 

And that's the reason in the highest offices 

The officers dispose, bestow, at ease, 

And the feet of the office girls float in the breeze. 


Occasional mornings when an early fog 
Not yet dispersed stands in every yard 
And drips and undiscloses, she is severely 
Put to the task of herself. 

Usually here we have view window dawns, 

The whole East Bay at least some spaces into the room, 

Puffing the curtains, and then she is out 

In the submetropolitan stir. 

But when the fog at the glass pauses and closes 
She is put to ponder 

A life-line, how it chooses to run obscurely 
In her hand, before her. 


Still Life 

Goodbye, goodbye, the dark suited gentleman said, 
Tipping his hat with a wide grin of departure, 
Depart, depart. He thought of something else, 
See, he strode back and bent low, he said 
See, he returned. 

Two in conversation make a mark on the lawn 
Sparrows, seeds, all see the mark and go round. 
Would it be not a farewell and dispersal, 
Then fare well in the conversation, might as well 
The way it lasts. 

Goodbye, goodbye. But engine will not start 
Nor cleaving action break the steadfast heart, 
Nor hands in coat pockets leave and depart, 
Nor wheel turn, street take away, but wait to see 
The sober undeterminable goodbye. 

In Air 

What's in the air is won, the air over, 
The veriest pebble and blade, the air over, 
Veriest peak and plane, air over 
Hope and hope. 

What's in every listener's head, said or not, 
Air resting said in every listener's head, 
Is hoped and won. 

What's hoped is breathed and blown over every town 
And so banked and reeled over every field 
And so borne aware 
In every grain of air. 


Puffs in the nebulae and spins and spreads 

In the starheads, 

The hope and care won in our very air. 


The entire country is overrun with private property, the gypsy 

king said. 
I don't know if this is true, 
I believe in the gypsy kingship though. 

The lost tribes of my own nation 

Rove and rove. 

In red and yellow rough and silent move. 

I believe 

The majesty pot mending, copper smith 

On the hundred highways, nothing to do with. 

And black eyes, black I never saw, 
Searching out the pocket lines of cloth 
The face lines and the furrows of belief. 

It's a curious fact, Stephan, King, if you are made to doubt 
Aegyptian vision on the Jersey shore. 
Property's private as ever, ever. 


The steamfitter had no notion of buying an opal, 
But a stone comes sudden in its meaning often. 

He looked for a new watch, that part of his life, there was none, 
He had to furnish his own time sense. 


But this opal. Fire of time that burned in the antique reaches, 
Roman omen, power of the sooth. 

How comes so much actual straight evil into an opal? 
Fix on a streak of bad luck, it goes out. 

How comes so much red, then green, into an opal? 
There aren't those colors in a glass of milk. 

His wife didn't want the jewel but he bought it 
And took that burden on, which fate forbore. 


As I was going past Capstan's Well 
I met a man in a woolen reefer, 
A friend of my friend's. 
What was his disposition? 

He was bald as a bat 

Blind as an egg 

Bent as a lion, bold as a bird. 

A singular complex of idiosyncratic qualities. 

Then let me explain, said the man in the reefer, 

I too am a friend of a friend and a dream of a dreamer, 

A classical character often. 

And often beloved. 


Well Made 

Familiar to our readers 

In all its special vein 

Is the form of the tale in the author's careful form. 

The incident beginning 

And then begun again 

With love and care to keep the cockles warm. 

The palpitant unf oldment 

And dear and sudden end, 

The shape of the tale in the author's burning hope 

Familiar to our readers, 

But not the blind 

Looking around of the mind for the shape. 

Man of Letters 

He had a reading eye which used to find 
Jacks in the box in the paragraph, jacks to open, 
And nobody ever drew to any better. 

What he could see in Hawley-Smoot or the races, 
Kayak IPs health for example, always had spring to it, 
Jumped with a very grace from where in print it lay. 

Take a long waste area of four hundred square pages with him, 

And probably find before one hundred fifty 

A bubbling spring, a joyful cap and bells, out at you. 

O words so kind and human kind to take 
That fortune from his eye, or give it to him, 
Sprouts in the sentence, royals in the voice. 



All our stones like as much sun as possible. 
Along their joints run both solar access and decline 
In equal splendor, like a mica chipping 
At every beat, being sun responsible. 

How much sun then do you think is due them? 

Or should say, how much sun do you think they are apt to have? 

It has misted at their roots for some days now, 

The gray glamour addressing itself to them. 

I should think possible that it go on misting likewise 
A good way into next year, or time as they have it, 
A regular cool season every day for our stones. 
Not a streak that low of any sun or longed surprise. 


Events like the weeping of the girl in the classroom 
Bring to the demands of objects 
Denial pure and simple. 

Denies the sun, desk, hand, head of the girl, 
Denies the book, letter, document, 
Denies the ether of the natural will, 

Any event like the crying of girl 
In the chair in the sun 
In the passion of denial. 



I liked the small pale man who leaned, I liked the twenty 
Five year old explorer at the pole of age, 
The wan producer who knew his own desire. 

I heard the quiet hero in the story relate 
His long intention, and no more that day, 
And that was crisis in its merest mention. 

This one unshouting unleading and unpleading 
In a creased still assurance tentative, 
Waiting a magnitude to confirm and tally. 

The ghost I liked, the young pale pole beater 
Back with content and conscience, being ready 
For a self-portrait in the face of State. 

Merchant Marine 

Where is the world? not about. 

The world is in the heart 

And the heart is clogged in the sea lanes out of port. 

Not in the work or the west, 
Not in the will or the wriest 
Task is the world. It is all seaward. 

Chart is the world, a sheet 

In the hand and a paper page, 

A rendable tissue of sea lanes, there is the heart. 



Genealogists, geologists, and experts in falconry- 
Walked over the green and stony island and approved it, 
Looked in the face its people and passed by them 
As a rock unprocessed. 

Jotted down traces of races, croppings, and the brooded bird, 

The eyries of a scandic shift to believe, 

But more closely what to name ancestral and to make 

What plunge in the feathered spot. 

Lifted on highways and at club festivals, 

The host genealogists, geologists, and falconers making them 

Eyes to the host eyes, and pressed past them 
To the height where the hood be lifted for work. 


Into the spacious bay the sun of afternoon 


And there two people, a man with a beard and a woman without, 

were playing 
At cards alone. 

Lake traffic, line traffic, pine, plain traffic all around them 


Roared but soft, rushed but not 

Into the window many-sided, 

Looking for a game to play, a war to win, some sort of 

magnificent errand 
To be done; 

While the spadebeard took easily a trick 
Already a century won. 



When swimming and croquet are in full sway, dolor 
Asserts itself, rocks on the porches its own whited color. 

Dolor dismayed with one life after another 
Tells its tally, but never tells enough. 

Never gets the last iota pat, never gets 
Veronica buried, thought of her too late. 

Extend, dolar, extend, assert, and let 

No one walk to the postoffice in the middle of this. 

Maintain on one sunporch, in one mild 
Summer, one dismay unreconciled. 

The Thoroughgoing 

He killed and kept. 

He doused the capitol city in kerosene, 
He chopped the maples up for firewood 
And then it was the city they kept warm. 
All winter warmed preserved and kept 
For him. 

He told the city fathers: die, and they 

Died with unwillingness and shock and met again 

Next weekday morning for the usual course 

Of minor and perhaps a major bill. 

All morning voted and vetoed the village ways and means 

For him. 

He had his uncle understand the old was dead, 

Laid down the old man's bay in earth for a leaner muscle, 

And grayly from the grave came home to find 


The glitter of watch chain crossed his uncle's dinner. 
Saved for him. The heirloom worn aloft and soft and now 

and still 
Saved for him. 

The Sympathizers 

To this man, to his boned shoulders 

Came the descent of pain. 

All kinds 

Cruel, blind, dear, horrid, hallowed, 

Rained, again, again. 

To this small white blind boned face 

Wherever it was 


The blows of pain, it took as it were blinded, 

As it were made for this. 

We were there. We uneasy 

Did not know if it were. 

Knew neither 

The reason nor the man nor whether 

To share, or to beware. 


Cream shade down in the house 
Upon the whitest noon 
Withdraws from noon's dispense 
A treble gloaming dream. 

The dreaming eye yet views, 
I swear by all this sun, 
Calendar on the wall 
And photo of its class. 


But will not; and it fights 
To make the symbols come, 
To win a childish lore 
In its eight hours off. 

To deepened be and lost 
To frightened be and held 
To quiet be and see 
In the spent afternoon 
An underlidded dawn. 


Query query back and forth the many questions of weather, 

A satisfactory trip, tour, breeze, and sunset? 

Yes a commendable a beautiful portage and panorama. 

To steer a toehold in the mountain of this exchange, 
To catch a cranny in this character, what a lift 
What a lilt to the day's work and the summit of it. 

It is a steep linking and roping, but it covers the ground 

And it gets the view, and it proceeds in peace, 

The endearing comment of the friends of the weather. 



A gracious number of dark witted thieves 
Stole all I had, in a pack as thick as that. 
I was so disappointed I rocked as I sat. 

I chewed on a straw hoping it would get sweeter. 

It got drier and drier 

And gradually caught on fire. 

I spat it out, nothing left to chew, 

I looked up the street and I looked down, 

I saw that everything was really gone. 

The people who got the goods enjoyed them I guess 
For they never brought them back fourfold in a dray 
As I expected them to until this day. 


I heard the angry and overset voice quiet to articulation, 

The brakes slow down that driven machine, 

All gather under control of the white and mellow. 

I heard pastoral pauses between syllables, 
Sheep count the sentences as they went over, 
And the sun of reason simmer benign. 

Now here's the dell warm and dampened 
Where cover's asunder and the toadstools spring. 



The man to be photographed was a student of mankind 

In sets, by which it lasted long. 

And he read in a walnut room 

Filled with the shadows of his projected thought. 

One ship was stalled in oil, one carpet 
Thread at his foot. 

There was one vase gleamed in the forenoon 
And another, after. 

The photographer to get all this at all 

Shoved back the blinds, 

And set against the side of the portrayed studying forehead 

A car-load sun. 


When in aspiration 
The brow is furrowed high 
Over the oval glasses 
That gleam the lifted eye, 

When in strong resurgence 
The face aspires to move 
Beyond the lofts of vision 
It is constructed of, 

Ah face, alas, give over 
The bodying of mind, 
Or in your light discover 
And blaze the watcher blind. 



Those who look sideways, if their skin is dark 
Look sideways farther and with more amaze. 
There's white and oval startle in the quickly 
Gleaming gaze. 

And what the pupil sees, that I cannot 

But only the apprehension of the eyeball. 

In its roll the foregoing of fear, and the foregoing of thought 

In its interval. 


A movie light, I don't know what they call it, but it's white, 

Cuts close the face, 

Takes off the scar and grin 

And makes it Michael, sir, and heaven sent. 

Light cuts so close, and slices down the character so fine, 

Makes profile out 

A mountain range serene 

Against a sky and makes the twilight airs come down and purify. 

If it is not the man you know but only soul 
Cast on the screen 
In cut from brow to chin, 

Have patience, few but camera read him so, and camera's 
hounded by the show. 



Ah face that has my heart in it 
Corner for corner and mile for mile, 
What will I do when in the instant coming 
You look to smile? 

All spires, acres, faces will be smiling 

In just such sudden; there will be 

All I ever knew, down to the last straw even, 

Looking at me. 


How conduct in its pride 

Maintains a place and sits 

At the head of the table at the head of the hall 

At the head of the hosts and guests. Bring on the time. 

Conduct, the nodding and laughing all is yours. 

How gracefully and fine 

The head turns on its stem 

At the end of the table at the end of the house 

And yours are all the becks and listening ears. 

Bring on the several salads. See the crowd 

Ready and reticent in its waiting sits 

Leaving the whole thing up 

To conduct in its garb 

To do the anecdotal smiling, yes. 


Lucifer Alone 

One rat across the floor and quick to floor's a breeze, 

But two a whisper of a human tongue. 

One is a breath, two voice; 

And one a dream, but more are dreamed too long. 

Two are the portent which we may believe at length, 
And two the tribe we recognize as true. 
Two are the total, they saying and they saying, 
So we must ponder what we are to do. 

For every scuttle of motion in the corner of the eye 
Some thought of thought is asked in us indeed, 
But of two, more: there we have likeness moving, 
And there knowledge therefore, and therefore creed. 

What Followed 

In all happiness and peace of mind 
The man spoke a villainy, he was sore at it 
And would have it back but it was gone already, 
Ducked in the pool of the past and there no diver, 
It was done for and he with it, he said. 

But the very villainy got up of itself, 
It was so light it ran, and he after it, 
Asking everybody as he ran where it went to, 
All had seen it and spoke of it to him, 
They knew him by it. 

When one summer eve in another county- 
He met up with the villainy at a band concert, 
Asked how it did, said here am I 

My whole life and place of life changed by chasing you, 
He found he held its leash, it was his seeing eye 
Purchased and instructed. 


All Hallow 

The lady in the unbecoming bonnet 

Let down her weeping hair. 

She saw the broomstick and the witch upon it 

Riding there. 

The wind was full of bottles and the air 
Aggressive as a shell. 

The lady watched about her everywhere 
The sallyings of hell. 

The little boys stopped ringing at the bell 
As she came homeward sadly. They had her cat 
Spitting and mewing, a black one: lady, 
Whose cat is that? 


Who knows his way around a corner clear as day 
When the lights let down, 
Millinery store becomes a den, 
Merchandise sobers coldly over town? 
Who then? 

The running boys then with the spurt of noise, 

Not to look and not to buy 

But to lead the way 

Of every empty corner under sky 

Into the opposites of day. 



Thank you for your kind attention. 

How the ear can rest upon the heart. 
The long bolster of a life story 
Fresh at the ear and in every mention 
Full of comfort. 

Rest and attend again, for if more beating 
Trembles in the heart to attend 
It will be an undertale and differing story, 
The second speech, a plea, and the more fleeting, 
Told to the friend. 


Plentiful people went to the Cadillac drawing, 

My ticket was number nine seven two seven one, 

And my friend's ticket was number nine seven two seven two, 

Certainly a lucky number and easy to remember. 

I thought of it all through the film, and I like Greer Garson. 

heaven when the lights went up, the table trundled in, 
The number called didn't even begin with a nine. 

There wasn't even that much respite of hope after the happy 

That is the kind of change the brave buckle 
Time and again to. 

All those people heart-rent and rustling, 

1 wished the upper lights would not look down so, 

The curtain not so aquamarine, the manager not in tuxedo, 
Me not so pale. I wished the second feature 
Dark and dreadful. 



The extra-well-made movie ups and outs 
In a soft snow falling, that's the extra. 
Whatever sin of shock or corn was there 
The snow redeems. 

Or doves redeem, in a high flight flying. 

The nineteenth century bird of blessing and relief. 

There goes the soul, says Warners, up 

Up into the air. 

But, Brothers, see it fail. The birds fly, 
Clouds fail in an unwilling flare. 
Affairs now fostered are not fostered by 
Any resolving sky. 


Ever saw sidewalk uninterpreted? 
This is one. 

The Rialto sidewalk with environs 
Makes no sense. 

What does it give sea legs after a sea picture? 


What does it give spurs after range riding? 

A slippery basement tilt. 

Any other sidewalk fits the foot, 
Takes in and out of doors and miles away 
Any number of acknowledging steps, 
You lead, I follow, 


I take you up on that. 

But this cementy floor makes no legitimate offer. 

It extends for the night flight survivors 

To alight, not awake, but walk over. 

Concerto from Above 

Wood wind rests in a wood of wood indeed, breathes airs 
Over a varnishy thicket of banquet chairs, 
Supplements the structures of a slant of strings, 
And its own woody wonderment thicketly declares. 

I for one wonder wholly at the degree of furniture full 

Spilling to the edges, fiddles and flutes all 

Flaring to the gleam, such surface 

Of stand stem, seat shine, percussion and viol. 

Looks like a glare and clutter without comfort, the pieces 

In multitude and without order, unless polish pleases. 

But the banqueters sit them down, and in the wood 

The wind, winding and will, somberly and in speed increases. 


Purcell in many victories of his 
Excised a bounty out of Francis Drake, 
Even in the veriest exercise 
Explored how rich a tax a pirate pays. 

The pirate in his full freebooter ways 
Encompassed endless shores and policies. 
And Purcell was the man who took the stake, 
And Purcell is the man whose shore it is. 


Act V 

Pit, balcony, plush black, 

Mind and the resource of mind black, 

The buried caved-in coal mine of spirits 

Arm to arm, black to black, 

Had dawn break from the wings. 

Alpine or Zebraian dawn started up, 

Flitted on the convinced pillar and prop, 

Purely promised in the dawn's darkest, 

And then grew and again grew 

In the impatient impossible increase of the new. 

When it reached the windows it slanted in, 

And at the arm to arm unheard remembrances it slanted in, 

One after one, the individual dawn, 

Wing born, in all that blackness hard to bear 

Upon the midnight of a different day. 


The foot and knee of the dancer 
Must learn the room he is in. 
Must seek in the room of the dancer 
Its special pleasure. 

Whether of draw and rise 
Whether of cramp and fawn 
Whether of extensive and ambling leisure, 
The identifiable measure. 

The room of the dancer changes, 
The way-stations of his ways 
Collapse from hall ranges 
To tiled bays 


And back expand, flicker. 

The toe's to tell 

To the doubting heart of the dancer 

If these mean well. 

To tell to the cord of the dancer 
What footing and follow is 
On every fleeting platform, 
And what platform his. 

The Disturbed 

They drummed salvation in the darker districts 

And a man cried Save me. 

They closed the circle up, he was not a sober sinner. 

He pushed at the corner crowd and came at them. 

Save me. 

They closed the placards round that said Repent. 

Easy easy there, the tall young preacher murmured. 

Save me. 

See my scars, I repent, replied the desperate sinner. 

Pull up my shirt and see the scars on my stomach. 

Save me. 

They are my sins, count them, the sinner cried. 

Then to the increased crowd the three soft 
Sopranos started singing Judgment, 
Jubilee for the unsaved and the unsober. 



Three dogs bark at the street end, hear, this 
Is a wild region, animals talk in audible sound, 
What if one called it baying, then for 1 104 
Or noyAor 11 26V2 
Death were inevitably taking up the ground. 

But ground here? ground with its growl and limitation 
Not here at avenue. The poorest is paved and scaped. 
And lift eyes, one will see the fuel of perpetual dawn 
Over 1 100 block as over 
The civil civic center where it is shaped. 

Dog again, it is disturbed. In this briefest meantime 

Municipal hum has taken itself close in 

And does not as on milder nights accompany 

To the 1 100 bed and board 

The soft-soled progress of the citizen. 

Dog answers and agrees; o pioneer 

Five blocks to windward hear the click of rails 

Bearing their car away, hear faulting up 

Near to 1 100 block and nearer 

The hoary quarries and the scrub of hills. 


The light burns in the foliage, but the bushes 
Will not burn. 

The light flares and fades but the bushes in the dark 
Assume no single spark. 


The willows in the water drink and survive 
Greening the channel water. 
The black world moist and green 
Where the light burns to be seen. 

The incendiary mind of light pours its array 
Leaf over leaf the light. 

The full foliage thickened, the green bough bloomed 
Will not be consumed. 


Impervious to its pledge the human heart 
Looks not to forward or to rear but sinks 
Into an instant and there drifts entire. 
How forward are the suns that rise again. 

The pledge now called, the sources now are spent, 
The scene impoverished and the heart secure, 
What's time that lets not well enough alone? 
How forward are the suns that rise again. 

Perfection can insist percent's complete, 
The round and perfect heart retire from love. 
How forward are the suns that rise again. 



A nothing out of which to create a new 
Was never nothing enough for a new, never 
Empty lost lone nought enough 
To come clean new in any morning light. 

Always in that limbo wide as it was, 
Deep, down, as it was, somebody lay 
Qualifying any possible creation. 
Toppled in that void tossed there, and woke. 




If I woke in Bombay it would be possible 
The rooftops would confuse me, and the dying men, 
Accustomed as I am to the skyline of the living 
And the jerry buildings of tomorrow's life. 

But it is not possible that when in confusion 
I fled in the street, frantic for familiar sight, 
I should not see in some face there 
Your look as Indian as dense with life. 



Men have their alien sons and love them, 
The dear fist clenched in theirs, 
The foreign taste fed at their table, 
The wayward walking in their name. 
They love their handsome son. 

But they hate the foreign, though an open 

Five-fingered hand like theirs, 

The gall taste deep as another nation, 

The ugly accent in an alien name. 

Hate all but him, dear father, and dear son. 


Who run the sea wall in diapers 
Look to their job. They teeter 
Straight like engineers in a known world 
Observing and observed. 

Their infinitesimal feet rosy as dawn trace on the granite 

The wet track of concern 

To gradings and goals. The sea both sides 

Bluffs and betides. 


Here's a gray afternoon, bleak as to freeze 
The edge of thought like a hacksaw. Chinese 
Die in the news, this wind on them 
Cold as a garden. 


The surprise is, that in the house across the street 
Where his wife has been lately dying 
Mr. Brannam lights the light in the livingroom 
Early, like a crocus. 

The pale new light he sits to read by blooms 
Through the axed air west 
Past winter gardens 
To an Asian coast. 


The courtyards of the inner heart go round 
And round, so sure are they 
Where they will end; the brick 
Convolutions enter and extend 
The individual life, and come to end. 

Beyond, the plains of the universe compass hope 

So thin so fast 

A television cannot trace what spins 

Political or polar in the shape 

Of one quick trip. 

Between, in middle distance where the seasons 

In plenitude emerge, 

Figures move together on the open 

Course, out of the beleaguered heart, 

Out of the universal siege. 


Long as I was able, in the town of my birth, 
I listened to the old men tell Indian stories, 
And learned to patter them, while every fall 


Came quicker in the year, and every Indian 
Lay dustier dust. 

It was astonishing that the Santa Fe railway 
Both came and went, both travelled and returned, 
Under a noon dust or an evening star, 
And never stayed. I heard its journey 
Both sides my sleep. 

Now with the new airfield at Pylon's Corners, 
I tremble to think what next will enter my mind. 
Some semblance of an eternal Siberian winter 
Blowing over the steppes of imagination 
To blast an Indian story. 


Returning from the north, I saw the sun returning 
In the same car. 

Back to our indigent county we retreated 
From the summer war. 

All us vacationers, dead, alive, burnt, 

Said as we rode 

That to live up to the Fourth of July, Christmas 

Would have to be pretty good. 

And we rode in the memory 

Of the rockets' red glare 

Blazing and disintegrating to our vision 

In the soft summer air. 

But the sun was recollecting in its wide glance, 
Passive and regional, 

Necessities of a colder danger, with the chance 
Of a warmer festival. 


The Day the Winds 

The day the winds went underground I gasped for breath, 
Did not you? — oxygen gone from the chest wall, 
Nostrils pinched in the scant weather, strictest 
Sort of equilibrium at street corners. 

It was a pity. Who could walk in the hills now 
Or run for a train? The water in a storm 
Ran down the sides of buildings and the bark of trees 
Straight down, like tears. 

In the first days it was not so desperate; 
I remember, though short of breath, 
Thinking with relief in the dense quiet, 
Fall will be quiet. 

But more and more as the streets clogged with traffic 
And the smog of the city's production lay on its eyes, 
One could notice persons burrowing, hearts hammering, 
Toward the risks of the wind. 


What happens when the evangelist of truth 
Waves his arms, shakes his fist once? 
Does the truth stand by him? 

What happens when the donkey of radiation 
Brays in his corral? 
Is it true? 

What happens when in electric fields of low intensity 

but immense extent 
Perturbations are set up in a westerly current? 
Cyclones move faster when they are young? 


Evangelist! westward the course of empire takes its way 
And every traveller asks what way is west, 
What west is true. 


Went into a shoestore to buy a pair of shoes, 
There was a shoe salesman humming the blues 
Under his breath; over his breath 
Floated a peppermint lif esaver, a little wreath. 

I said please I need a triple- A, 

And without stopping humming or swallowing his 

lif esaver away 
He gave one glance from toe to toe 
And plucked from the mezzanine the very shoe. 

Skill of the blessed, that at their command 
Blue and breathless comes to hand 
To send, from whatever preoccupation, feet 
Implacably shod into the perfect street. 


Diligent in the burnt fields above the sea 
The boy searches for what, sticks, 
Cans; he walks like a rider 
The rough and stumpy ground. 

And finds all morning while the sun 
Travels to crest, a blooming fullness of day, 
Just one ant-paste spike, rusted. 
Says the boy with relish, Poison. 


Often at night his fears have told him these 
Dooms to find in the hills, and his heart lightens 
To find them there in fact, black as intended, 
But small enough. 


When I came to show you my summer cottage 
By the resounding sea, 

We found a housing project building around it, 
Two stories being painted green row after row 
So we were set in an alley. 

But there is the sea I said, off the far corner 

Through that vacant land; 

And there the pile of prefabricating panels 

And the cement blocks swiftly 

Rose in the sand. 

So darkened the sunlit alley. 

Ovid, Arthur, oh Orion I said, run 

Take Rags with you, send me back 

News of the sea. 

So they did, vanishing away off and shouting. 


When I came to the porch 
The faces that I met 
Were family faces 
Sheltering out of the wet. 


When I came to the door 
The Presidential race 
Was being run off 
Over the mantelpiece. 

When I came to the stair 
The word of the Lord 
Met me, and it was not 
A welcoming word. 

But all through the mansion 

Of retired men 

Murmured the louder and the louder insurrection 

Of the louder and the louder rain. 


What strength give to riot that it can subside? 

O hungry riot, here and here is food, 

Eat and rest. 

Comfort the little riot. Love is best. 

But the big little roarer leaps from the breast, 

Hungry, angry, and for no good. 

And what then 

Cries mother, cries uncle, to the rioting man? 


Mother said to call her if the H bomb exploded 
And I said I would, and it about did 
When Louis my brother robbed a service station 
And lay cursing on the oily cement in handcuffs. 


But by that time it was too late to tell Mother, 
She was too sick to worry the life out of her 
Over why why. Causation is sequence 
And everything is one thing after another. 

Besides, my other brother, Eddie, had got to be President, 
And you can't ask too much of one family. 
The chances were as good for a good future 
As bad for a bad one. 

Therefore it was surprising that, as we kept the 

newspapers from Mother, 
She died feeling responsible for a disaster unverified, 
Murmuring, in her sleep as it seemed, the ancient slogan 
Noblesse oblige. 


Everywhere the lights of the settlements 

Are steadfast in their place, the streets of Tiburon 

Straight up the hill, and bridges 

Horizontal at the shortest distance. 

On the near shore the Reynolds' radio burns 
Red under its lamp, and our little blazes 
Flickering and wavering, turn steady 
Finally, in the stiff breeze. 

Then from the pier pulls out into the tide 
Silently a barge, bearing its lights 
Three singly, cross the neighborly water, 
Moving like conscience toward the longest distance. 


Two Kinds of Trouble 
(For Michelangelo) 

Ruin of David directly offers 
Determination out of two thousand years 
Which meagre and young rose from its lesson 
And took its sling in hand, 
Head saying what hand has crumbled away. 

Ruin of Adam, in his fibres the plaintive 
Contortion of desire to live forever 
Lives in a second vision forever, 
Trunk at the twist of aspiration 
Learned of a natural content, with hardship. 

Ruin of Evening, robes heavier 
On the spirit than dark, the wealth of abendland 
Weighting the arms and eyelids, over the breast 
Brood of somnolent passion, of long 
Dreaming to come. 

Ruin of Zeus and of Pope Julius 
Hard men together in sinew of authorship, 
Jaws at the clench, giants of David 
Breathe their curly beards and blue beards 
On the Atlantic rime, over to us. 

Ruinless. To us, ruinless. Their gaze westward 
Casts on fields of lettuce and rye 
Message of a dimension for us 
Length of the time of ruin in the world 
Breadth of the shoulders of its magnitude. 


When God said let there be light 

The Darkness said let there be light, 

In the dark irony of his being. 

His chill assurance plucked the nursing sun 

Daily from its place in heaven. 

The suave embittered Dark 

Sworn to his resurgence 

Sat easily under the palm of the Lord 

Like a lord, 

His fillet Roman. 

How can the supple day 
Move from this desperate work 
Heaving and sweating in the whirlwind, 
Mild as a morning air 
Into the morning? 

It is one thing to see 

Once the snake-ridden tree of Eden, 

And another ever to pursue the shoulders bent 

From Eden's discontent 

Into the fortunate wilderness of stone. 

Adam is unruly 

In Noah and again 

In David, in Zachariah and again in Jacob, 

Looks God in the eye his frown and says 

Let there be light, in irony of being. 


I heard how Zachariah read out of his book 


Warnings heavy and heavy-lidded 

While two boys glanced over his shoulder 

All they could never want to learn. 


And how Jeremiah put down the book 
Put down the robe of authorship, 
Learned in his beard 
The brunt of suspicious answers, 
A heavy lesson. 

Most gently I heard Daniel, when the breeze from the sea 

Blowing his hair 

Made him look away 

To where in the locks of his heart the dark and the morning 

Were saying there was light. 

It was over the river, up from the channels of death 

The caverns and waters 

Bonds of bone 

Into an arc as of morning 

The lightest body rose. 

To which now the Popes, youths, and cherubs 
Eyeing askance the dark lip of Adam 
Hearing askance the sun cry at even 
High at heaven, 
Answer in irony. 


About the mission of Rio Carmelo 

About the mission of San Juan Bautista, San Miguel, 

Santa Barbara, better preserved, 

Autumn crickets sing in the shrubbery 

And wild grasses. At Carmelo 

The river runs into the thickening sea. 

From San Juan to Carmel and then down 
Over the ridges the chaparral burns the sun away, 
The great oven of air ladling herbs 
To grill of ground, as ripe a medicine 

[8 4 ] 

As ever breathed corpse its new message, 
Earth will consume and save. 

I remember 

How out of Florence the white roads ran 

Precisely in their way 

Along the poplar run. 

The towered hills 
In terraces as sharp 
As statues in the noon's 
Untoward light. 

With marble 

To the foot as to the hand, 
The wealthy processes 
Of civic state. 

Vertical and discrete 
All alleys, sombre 
All plaza squares 
Like jewels of thumb. 

Down which, 

Fleeing in Chirican sequences, 

Our author ran 

In the cool of night 

To Rome 

And back again. To Rome 
And back again, the agile 
Paces of flight. 

No more to flee 
Florence than the board 
On which he drew the squares 
In black and white. 

[8 5 ] 

Maybe Sacramento is our town 

Florence reminds you of. 

A capitol base. 

An oasis in the desert plain, 

Pearl vanilla slums this side the tracks 

And domes the other. 

What is wonderful here is the air-conditioning. 

While the sycamores 

Draggle second-story verandas 

In the canyon blast, as if an eyelid closed 

Against a noon escape, 

Here all the while the air-conditioning 

Cools triplicates, controls 

Every attic souvenir, cards 

Every resentment which a grandfather spent 

On down to a grandson since the civil war 

And quickly 

Guides it through committee. 

Well then what of heritage we have 

Goes well here in bar and grill 

After the aspect of a lottery 

Or confederacy 

Southern or south Chinese or south State St. 

To which one fled away. 

To Rome or Florence 

Where he took up the marble 

And made the marble face 

In which there lived 

Then on, the master of Medician trouble 

Into good times and bad. 

There lived on, in the stone of the forest 
Everything he fled, 


The crime in the face of the master of trouble 

The wrong he did 

The corruption he dreamed 

His jaw locked against a word of good. 

And by the massive monument 

Of self condemned 

Self perpetrated and self fled to Sacramento 

Came into his ugly ownership to live 

To time forever 

Even to California. 

Now what I fear for our golden arroyos 

Their golden leaves and stones, 

When the mesquite burns in the dusk and the small shadows 

Of our fleeing sculptor fall on the roads, is 

That he see no face of evil for his conscience 
To clarify. That he see no hawk nose 
Greed sharp and angular in our capitol 
Nor no sneer sinister nor scowl. 

And again no bully chin bare in our capitol, 
Barrel) awed in our ante-rooms no jut force, 
Nor sleek sinews if you will, wry in the wisdom of 
Persuasion drawn lithe at lip and tongue. 

Nor cruel hollow eye nor empty ear 
Nor bleak brow nor cheek broken and hurt 
Nor twisted aspect at the temples' drill 
Of rough unlatitude. 

Not any ugly passionate powerful visage 
Of man or stone to carve in anger 
And to make our ruin, 
But all air-conditioned. 

[8 7 ] 

Rather, I fear the photos of men of distinction 
Fluttering in the low washes of the west 
In the mesquite underbrush will breathe and tell 
What we may know of life. 

Smooth faces, smooth smooth faces 
Good mood good personality faces 
Smiling easy eager 
Tender coy. 

Round bland planned personality faces 
Church porch porch faces 
Blind rind never mind faces 
Honest jolly. 

Pink think mink portraits 

Of bland good blind men of distinction 

Presidents and pards, patriots 

And paternosters, and their smooth faces. 

Rather I hope the hard and difficult choice 
That takes the stone and carves it to our hand 
The deepest lines of human character 
That wrong in the teeth of time assert itself, its 
rough anxiety. 

Down the alleys and arroyos drift 
Pages from the nameless magazines 
Of our life, sift the bushes 
In the heavy sand. 

At the arches of the old adobes, 
At the doorways of the ranchos grandes, 
Slip the pictures of our easy strangers 
In their two-tone spreads. 


And a good man is hard to find, 
Whether from home or from his author's mind 
Whether from stone or from the complex mesh 
Of Zeus in Adam's flesh. 

From good and wrong 
And irony of spirit, 
Big enough for ruin 
Should he choose. 


Into our brick acropolis returns 
The paschal lamb 

New to this birth of his but hungry at 
His horrid pen. 

And keeps our health that we may nourish him 
Alive and young 

To spring in springtime out the leafage as 
The world began. 

And keeps our brick resorts as pliant as 
Block upon block will yield to such a leap, 
The frolic pasture in his city and 
The planners' hope. 

Iron as wrought wrings to similitude 
Every dusty twig and crooked stem 
And plants them in its park, assuming good 
Every unindustrial use of them. 


But botany prefers the patient iron 
Put to hard uses over track and beam 
To unclassif y Linnaeus and return 
Veridical commerce, without thought of him. 

At most times of the day and the night 

Of the dusk and the morning 

Of the dew and the light, I think I survive where I live, 

In its brick shadow and execrable escapes, 

By reason of a tree which greens itself at my forehead. 

This is given, that stem leaps from earth, 
That chlorophyl hollers in the mum alley, 
And all which dies or returns to signify nothing 
Is memorialized by the renewal of leafage 
And reassertion in the outer branches. 

But at a few times, in the heart of an instant 
Not much illuminated, I can tell where I live — 
In the slum of my building, the crumble of plaster, 
The stay of its beams and its brick face 
Made mortal as life and no more, as no less. 


It's not my world, I grant, but I made it. 
It's not my ranch, lean oak, buzzard crow, 
Not my fryers, mixmaster, well-garden. 
And now it's down the road and I made it. 

It's not your rackety car but you drive it. 

It's not your four-door, top-speed, white-wall tires, 

Not our state, not even, I guess, our nation, 

But now it's down the road, and we're in it. 


The Halt 

The halt looks into the eyes of the halt and looks away. 
No response there that he can see 
To receive amply or repay. 

But the halt will lead the blind; indeed 

Note how the generous stick gestures to precede 

The blind, blundering in his black, black, black need. 


Well, yes, you are as angry as we feared. 
But fearful fighter, why? this anger 

blows up in your atmosphere 

like a magic storm 

brewed by vendors. 

And when we say all's fair here, fair enough, 
Bite to the quick that slight gentility 
And blast the battered hob. 

It's a black 

enemy, by dialectic. 

What would we do without hate, it makes ones two, 
Wholes half, hearts hack, and a hullabaloo party 

after every meeting. 

It does transcend a duller habit 

and synthesizes from defeat, defeat. 



Said, Pull her up a bit will you, Mac, I want to unload there. 
Said, Pull her up my rear end, first come first serve. 
Said, Give her the gun, Bud, he needs a taste of his own bumper. 
Then the usher came out and got into the act: 

Said, Pull her up, pull her up a bit, we need this space, sir. 
Said, For God's sake, is this still a free country or what? 
You go back and take care of Gary Cooper's horse 
And leave me handle my own car. 

Saw them unloading the lame old lady, 
Ducked out under the wheel and gave her an elbow, 
Said, All you needed to do was just explain; 
Reason, Reason is my middle name. 


The elder Bond at Harvard secured 
A daguerreotype of the Moon. 
My ancient lady, 

The willfulness which overcomes you, which 

Gilds and golds your frozen tears 

Is browned off here to family affection. 

The sailing majesty which keeps him 
Bound to your strings as to a lute's 
Gilds, for you earthened, heaven for him. 



Bad quartos were my first love. 

Ever since, 

I have worked in the particular possession 

Of their providence. 

Though increasingly wild the world 
And as death corrupt, 
My first love brings me succor 
As I learn its script. 

So that, in my presence, 
Rank and complete 
Spoil and error 
Are not really dissolute. 

I will take them up 

And gently gent- 

Ly love them, tell them 

What they have probably meant. 


The man with no ears 


People talking in the park and lobby. 

He is upset, 

Their private ramblings concern him, 

Do not let him forget 

He has no ears. 

What about the whole head then — 
Placed either side, 
Those fine organs of discrimination 
Clean to the breeze — 


Is it not possible such a head will hear 
Just that which is spoken 
And no more? 

Rather, by often chance, 

The delicate receivers 

Bring to the brain such overtones of remorse 

The whole head must operate like a blind man 

Deaf and mute 


To all or nothing. 

And the choice 

Nagging past bell to book or bark to voice 

Past no to yes 

Past yes to irony 

Holds him the head up till its listening spirit 

Wishes the hearing 

Headless of itself. 


I would sit in the window's ledge 
At Los Angeles High School 
To watch the pecking sparrows 
To hear the bickering girls 
Their warm and lively life. 

The sun that shone thereon 
Would draw to warmest life 
The coldest bone and silent 
To ruffle in its dust 
Bicker its edge of sun. 

Now what shall I say of the cat 
That sprang the pecking sparrows 


What of the aunt that ate 
The slightest bickering girls 
What of the heart 

Once warmed by delicate rays 
Now sheltering all that sun 
Till it would bless and blaze 
A thousand windows in 
A universe of schools? 


Who is that student pale and importunate 

Whom I have left with a heavy burden and forgotten all about? 

Who wakes me as I fall asleep, asking 

What I want done with the job now that the year's over. 

And indeed I remember now he has been doing all my work, 
Setting up the experiments, kidding the bystanders, 
Puzzling the problems, and I have forgotten him 
Till now too late, and must wait until morning. 

Who is he? my thought which I deny until the dark, 
Or one literal person I have now forgot 
Who, early in the alphabet, recited 
More than I could learn until tonight? 



Apartment hearts within their hearts so lie 
Their hearts are all their own economy, 
And trade too terrible, current too quick, 
To tempt the resident to try his luck. 

The resident indeed is filled with pride 
He's so sufficient and unsatisfied, 
And stays his quarrel by a long-term lease 
And draws his walls within, and sues for peace. 

Improbable Time 

Improbable time who frowns upon my face 

The glower of improbability, subside. 

The prophet rose in the church when the people were praying 

But told no future they had not f oreborne. 

Now prays the brain toward the improbable 
And fist and knee toward grace, what you foretell, 
Time, echoes the house and interrupts the prayer 
But finds no future unaccounted for. 



Busy sickness, pay me attention, said a hero 
Falling down, with his bland beak encored, 
An accumulation of agues in his power 
Ready to devour, should he give the word. 

He hesitated, with concern for some care 

And necessary solicitude if he succumbed, 

Saw no signs of any anywhere, 

But could not unflatten whence he had unclimbed. 

So gave the nod to a most petty fever 
To burn with its eyes closed on his tough 
And frank forehead; it could not burn forever, 
And expired finally, but it was enough. 


When I transact divorces of the mind, 
And am hailed in abstraction tangled like a city, 
Strong and devoted, as absorbed as that, 
Suddenly I look up and see grandfather green. 

Green sycamores, green leafage, shade and sky, 
Green form and shape, in motion to my hand, 
Every shape a gift and every 
Burden a reminder. 

And I think, Pater and my fine fathers, 

Your rich prose taught and taught us at its knee, 

And still thunders its cloud we argue under, 

Yet now we argue barest daylight, in the expanse of green. 


Ten Dreamers in a Motel 

Some people said the cabin 
Wouldn't hold us two, 
Two hundred and forty pounds, 
Two hundred and twenty- two. 

But note wherever we moved 
Back or face to face 
Outside the windows flew 
Hundreds of butterflies. 

So that within our walls, 
Walls that denied us well, 
Glimmered the wing that tells 
All things are possible. 

To elephant and elephant 
Stalking exact apart, 
The centennial memory 
Of a light heart. 


At this dinner I was telling you about 

Next door to this motel 

Was your pal your host, 

And me, and a mother, daughter 

Come to greet you back, how they loved you. 

She for the past as if a bowl of carnations 
Sat with the chicken; 
She for the chicken; 
He for the silverware. 


The lines of life which moved between you 

Like toy tramcars 

Were also like toy speedsters 

Building up speed. 

An electric party. 

Except, between us, you 
And me met to greet you back, 
Was absence still. 
A freedom free enough to kill. 


One day we started out 

To pick up driftwood. I was interested 

In a housing project there, I had heard a lecture 

Illuminating the beach like lightning. 

It was my concern 

To raise on the shingle rows of boards 

On which the great foundations could be built. 

Rather, I found the shanties were up already, 

And indeed down already, every one 

Empty to the tide as if just then 

They had been lived in but would live no more. 

I turned round. 

If I had been looking south I looked north 

East west I turned. 

On which of the many hills 

Of suburbs out beyond the State Fair on Saturday morning 

Did we pasture our goats? 

Up down over the Marguerite Street district 

We saw the angel ladders behind before us 

But not that field in which our thoughts were bound. 


Conceive if you can the animal desolation 

Which besieged us on all sides other districts than our own. 

We were, myself and self, not enough to ensure 

Any comfort of company, but one who will say 

So it is, and not let me deny, say 

Let us go back by the municipal railway. 

Carombed out of town in a comedy chase fashion 
Police oblique to our path, and statues 
Wheeled over, through Harlem, and all more wasteful as 

we went, 
And ended up at this tourist cabin, 
Its outlook, so it was said, restful. 

Went to the window, 
Pushed aside the curtains and there saw 
That countryside we longed for: rocks 
Steep slopes of rocks, rubble and rusk of rocks. 
What is it? and you said, moraine. 

When we came back all the underpasses were flooded, 
Highway 40 blocked off 
And six inches of water at the supermarket. 
So it was necessary to go round by the byroads. 

So it was that we came to our street from a different view, 
Saw our neighborhood from aside and below, 
Stacked up the hill our houses in their shrub, 
Their windows empty as an evening sky. 

And so it was we saw that they dwelt without us, 
Endured merrily as bastions against our presence, 
Persons of note and self in the rainy evening, 
Lampless and starless. 

[ 100] 

I saw a field of folk in fit array, 
A circus field, or fair, 

A tumbler tintwister and autocourt carnival 
Brought for the day. 

Among which I went, larking and singing, 
Crowding and wandering, till 
Where was I? everybody wandered 
While I stood still, longing 

To find myself out, there to find, 
And in relief 

I felt at my shoulder, straight beside me, 
Father or friend. 

But it was not, but a strange 
Present person who stood, 
To whom that field fair and carnival 
And I, he said, belonged. 

I went to consult a psychiatrist on this morning, 
A nervous woman, whose curly headed four-year-old child 
Played in the room, sitting staunchly 
On a great medical scales. 

I defended myself thus. It looks as if 
All this weariness came from too much work, 
But rather I think it a problem of person, 
Friend or foe, fortune of parent or pardon. 

The nervous psychiatrist ran her hand through her hair 
And glanced at her watch. Have you taken a trip lately, 
It would do you good, and take your mother with you, 
She needs it more than you do. 

Then I laughed to hear my own prescription 

Given to myself with such good humor 

In the grey weariness. But then she said also, 

Take with you also my curly-headed four-year-old child. 


I said to my iron class, I am desperate, desperate, 
You must learn and you will not. 
Each by each I looked to into the light and said 
You are fast in darkness. 

Each to each I said I am desperate, desperate. 
Then one rose from his seat and sat beside me 
Touching my hand and saying, out of his daylight, 
Do not despair. 

Midway stayed at a court between there and here 
Where woodsmoke rose up straight into the sky 
Cabin by cabin the suppers cooking 
Far as the eye could see, the courts unfolding 
Durable darkness. 

It was the tent and citadel of the many stars 
It was the rampart of the loud highway 
And we slept there, waking 
Into the thunder and silence of the unfolding 
Durable journey. 


The Plastic Glass 

A saint I heard of saw the world 
Suspended in a golden globe; so I saw 
Shattuck Avenue and the Safeway Stores 
In Herndon's globe of friendly credit. 

And where the car moved on, there the whole trash 

Flats of Berkeley floated in suspense 

Gold to the Gate and bellied to the redwood 


And I would ask the saint at what expense 
This incorporeal vision falls to the lay mind, 
And search the breast 
For revelations of unquietude. 

But in this dear and christian world the blessing 
Falls not from above; the grace 
Goldens from everyman, his singular credit 
In the beatitude of place. 


The way I would look at the world, the houses 

Take up half, the horizon 

Moves straight across the view. 

And the base half is houses, the roof lines of houses 

Marking off the blue. 

By what aerial license would it be possible 

To promote any other line? 

The piteous valley vista, or the terrible 


Seen by plane? 

I would legislate against the Icarian downfall 

As against the ascent of F6, 

And take care 

That the great legal skies of human vision 

Observe their human shore. 


Once there lived on the east side of the city 
One who wished to meet 
One who lived on the west side of the city, 
A thousand miles away. 

A thousand years went by. 

Then the one who lived on the east side of the city 
Set out on the main street 

And met the one who lived on the west side of the city 
Coming that way. 

A thousand 


Miraculous life! that in its brief and mortal 
Progress achieved this union of intents, 
Inevitability sprung from the improbable, 
Volition moving in the paths of chance. 


My pride should effect your escape, 

It carries every key. 

Its own trusty, and a good chiseling trusty, 

It can at its own price set everybody free. 

[.o 4 ] 

And that is pride's advantage, that though it keep 
Jailed itself at an interminable wall, 
It recognizes the graces of the free 
And can dispense freedom from its cell. 

Idea of Joy 

The idea of joy, abruptly, 

Like the idea of day, 

Came and clothed the body of the lady 

In an array 

As of field or fire 

And she withheld 

Any comment on this procedure 

Until it was revealed 

That garmented in this glory 

And clothed in this joy 

She was at a loss for words completely 

And knew not how to say. 

So that I write for her 
With secretarial speed 
What she would have faithfully 
Conceived and said, 

That it was not joy which dressed her 
So sudden as the day, 
So bright as the fire, 
But the idea of joy. 

[io 5 ] 


Hello my beautiful small bird, 

Said the man to the mere bird. 

His soul to vex itself pretended 

The feathered friend paid no attention. 

But it did, such a love was lost all around it, 
The bird ruffled its feathers and fled and sang. 
Too bad for the vexed soul it sang only 
A singing language. 


I am bound to write you a letter again, this chore 
Is never done, never replied to, nor 
Communicative; its address 
Takes it to wordlessness. 

Today a great variety of light loves 

Play here for you, preen here for you like birds, 

A piano roaming, a f reesia blooming, 

A plane levelling off, a train leave-and-arriving. 

And I flourish as you do, and as will 
Those who will spell 
What this letter has to say verbatim 
And see it is for them. 



Only the halting and waiting bell of the train 
Now dallies from the depot valley 
And drifts its clear impatience up the lane 
Like a lesser trolley. 

For we would wait, but it would not, and it shames us. 

Its abrupt meditations swung and renewed 
Like any cow's in the briary valley, 
The lyrical crystal will not be withstood, 
Echoing to its folly. 

It reveals its folly as we do not, and it shames us. 

The summer dusk to the midnight dusk will keep us 
Face to face in the shadow our eyes darken, 
Lingering yet in the phrase of another making, 
With the air shaken 

By the bell in its split to a shout and a shout and 
it shames us. 


The complicated bush of blood in its branches 
Reddens at the rise of summer suns. 
Starts flowers, shoulders the corollary 
Splendors and reforms of summer noons. 

Beneath a burning cloud then it darkens 
And clouds itself in vaporous designs, 
The red stilling and warming as it whitens, 
The flowers floating in the milky veins. 

[io 7 ] 


Graham-Paige, a car I once rode in, 
Carried me out of this world, and I was afraid of that. 
Who wouldn't be? You wouldn't be, I see you 
Driving across an equal abyss your heart. 

At every crossroad 

Pause the exporters of their worldly good 

Patient as passive 

As if they would untravel if they could. 

And my antique memory 
Sifts me the Graham as if 
Every crossroad 
Were a crossways cliff. 

So that the power at your hand and foot defrayed 
Is all my expectation and dismay. 
And at every turn you save me. 
You slow and save. 


My adequate eye, to print, package, curb 
Adequate, and to the natural scene, 
Sees leaf by leaf but not 
Your thought by thought. 

My adequate eye, to your forehead and front 
Adequate, and to your offered glance, 
Sees beat by beat but not 
Your leafy heart. 


My eye, closed, dreaming, and inadequate eye, 
Sees several selves all yours and graced in light, 
But not your delicate grist 
And adequate grain. 


We have lost so many leaves 

in loss, loss, loss 
Out of the sky, 
What shall we do for shelter to live by? 

Not roof shelter, but leaf shelter, 

the tentative 
Crosswise cover 
Which a thousand light ideas give. 

Retire under somebody's constructed rafters 

or be grieved that a truthful brain 
Exists under a truthful sky 
With no palaver between. 


Four hundred children expect from one another 
Each what from himself he has ceased to demand, 
Each demanding, because as from his brother, 
Degree of devotion none can understand. 

So I from you, by what myth of loving relation 
Who could fathom but a mythologizing friend, 
Require, request, receive after such fashion 
I can imagine but not comprehend. 



My heart's so wealthy, I am put to spend it 

More than I know how. 

Thrift dismays it, a heavy fortune 

That never has enough. 

This is the purse of story 

That fills to the brim however much is spent. 

A treasury for a braver keeper 

Than modest love has learnt. 

Matter of Fact 

In the midmost and sensible real of the years of my life 

Hallucination like a storm 

Comes to its feet beside me 

Named by your name and calling me by mine. 

So that lamp, storm, student, and friend 

As it were love me, 

And it is my luck 

To love them dearly, as you demand. 

They are sensible real as the life of my years 

And I love them 

As a matter of fact. 

And I love you as a fiction of theirs. 

Selected Essay 

Sir, the objective correlative is love. 
It vapourizes not inside the heart 
Like fogs of happiness or despair, it is 
Of mass, space, energy composited 


And touchable. What vagaries the heart 
Turns feeling to, their object turns to love 
Round, square, and tall as any classical stone 
As any human form, correlative. 


Shoulder to head is the height of my life to me. 
My level eye 

Looks to his rib as his long and level eye 
Looks to the sky. 

Shoulder to head is the height of my learning, there 

Heart to ear 

Lectures for me to listen, as his ear 

Listens the sphere. 

Shoulder to head is a height never to reach 
By an equality of speech 
But by my speechlessness which ever is 
More patient though less possible than his. 


You are a riddle I would not unravel, 
You are the riddle my life comprehends. 
And who abstracts the marvel 
Abstracts the story to its sorriest ends. 

But not your riddle. It is patent, 
Never more than it says, and since that is 
Impossible, it is the marvel 
Nobody, as I am nobody, believes. 



This gray board fence turns blue in the evening light 
And the sycamores reign down upon it their diadems, 
And blue and green batter in wood and stems 
The stems of light 
Their green and golden gems. 

At once, out of a million years of energy, 

All turn to flesh — board, gate, and branch — 

With that quick sunset wrench 

Which seems like chance, 

Not in the fashioning of entropy. 

If then the flesh is yours, as now it is, 
I have lost yard, sunset, and all 
Into a mild greeting, and I call 
The sunset to your thought, to tell it is 
Parent apparent to your rich apparel. 


When I think of my kindness which is tentative and quiet 
And of yours which is intense and free, 
I am in elaboration of knowledge impatient 
Of even the patientest immobility. 

I think of my kind, which is the human fortune 
To live in the world and make war among its friends, 
And of my version, which is to be moderately peaceful, 
And of your version; and must make amends 

By my slow word to your wish which is mobile, 
Active and moving in its generous sphere. 
This is the natural and the supernatural 
Of humankind of which I grow aware. 


A Foreign Country 


Outside this room, — from where you sit on the floor you can see it, 

From where you lean your head back in the chair you can see it, 

Out the arches of the windows 

In the slanting western sunlight at your fingers' tips, — 

Russia extends, another country. 

These trees we see grow in Russian territory 
Just beyond Magnitogorsk, in what they call 
Suburban acres, they thrive there. 
The sky, pale blue today as the faintest sort of idea, 
Floats over us, thinking another language. 

Figure the northwest echoing forest of fir and pine, 
The snowcapped peaks of the Caucasus 


More remote more near than the Sierra. 
Eastward across the Caspian the parched expanses 
Where nomads pitch their tents like Arabs in the sun. 

In central Asia the minarets of Tamerlane, 

In Siberia, Mongolian Buddhists, 

In the black earth, wheat grain and rye; by the black sea 

Fruit orchards, vine terraces, tea plantations. 

Oil at Baku, gold at the river Lena. 

This is the world of hell, as if you saw the sky darkening 
Just outside, always at arm's reach. 
What once below in brimstone burned and languished 
Now takes the topography of an earthly land mass 
Contiguous to ours. 

We are beside ourselves, and hell beside us 
Flares up its fear 

Even to the enigma of the sky we share. 
And every human circumstance we share in 
Turns foreign to protect our hesitation. 


Consider that instant of anger when to the blow 

Of fist or word your blood rises 

Like a tide into the brain of hate, 

And opposition is like a wall intolerable to protest. 

That instant occurs not to the pure spirit 
Of Magna Carta, but at the Dnieperostroy, 
Where a clubfisted cavalry rides like a wall of iron 
Against its innocent and starving victims. 

Pity for self in pure oppression wells 

Against the eyelids of the angry sleeper 

And wakes him to the jolt of frozen winter 

With the hooves of those riders full in his face. Defend. 

And the face of those riders Russian to the core. 


Along the street of a small Moldavian village 

Warm with sun in the late afternoon 

Walks the Red Dean. All the children 

Run out to meet him, tumbling in the dusty mud, 

Crying in the still slanting air, 

Running to kiss the cross he bears. 

The pastoral condition. I detest it. 

Terrible condescension and blind 

Enthusiasm in the color of everyday 

Burden my thought, whether I am the keeper 

Or the flimsy kept, redrobed as gospel bearer 

Or as tattered as 

The scrawny children running to be blessed. 

One alien midget face after another 

Black eyed and foreign to my blue regard, 

Looks to that cross as if it were not mine. 

What about the unjust vote on the floor of the chamber? 

It was manipulated by an inner caucus 

Of the party, false as a wig. 

Inner spies, over whom the truth cannot prevail. 

I spoke ably to the proposition, 

Pled for the sincerity of our principle, marshalled the possible points 

Briefly and succinctly. Yet we were voted down. 

The totalitarian picture is unalterable. 

In the great place where the avenue 

Comes into the market square 

There a statue is builded 

To a living god. 

Who build ^ i living god, his beard preserved 

In formaldehyde? It deifies myself . 

I will not be responsible to keep the corpse alive 

I will not feed my faith into that beard 

Under that glass. 

Dissolve the Sunday corpse on Monday morning 

And let the living children jump and jump, 


Like fleas the living godkins 
Without beard. 

But say your concern is electrification, solely, 

A large production platform like a plan 

Rolled year to year, a forcing from the rock 

The rush of waters at their giant source: 

Would this not please you, the chain of dams reading 

Down the Urals, over to Kazakhastan 

To the tents of the Arabs? Power stations gleaming 

And high wires like a blaze of concept 

Above the chores of fact? I would like this better, 

A Turbine, than a Safeway, Manager. 

But still you pardon me. You know, better than I, 

Within the grasp of continental power 

How dangerously madmen preside. Roskolnikov for example 

Murders up and down the attic stairs, you feel, 

You cannot trust this brooding Russian spirit 

With any nice machinery of ours. 

And indeed I see you are right. 

As you spin the dials 

And the lights come on again all over the world 

There's something in your aspect darkens me, 

The bitter mouth which Prince Alexei drew, 

All that cavernous speculation 

Which roars in the ears of the turbines like a wind 

And hangs above the stars on Dienerplaza 

A cloud of doom. O come 

Out of that blackening power to the Safeway, 

Store Manager, come home. 

Moving a little eastward, our fear arrives 

At Baku. Well known Baku. 

One of our trustees 

Is thereto allied. 

But what that gleaming substance 

Would do a less hardy pioneer 

In the way of glossing 


Is unthinkable. 

Any one who has ever stopped at a Standard Station 

Knows the cleaning up oil has required 

And so the oiled heart 

In the glass house. 

They say the streets of Izarka are built of well polished timber 

Like bridges over ground all year caked with ice, 

The houses like chalets above these shallows, 

And they grow cabbages in the nine-week sunlight 

Between the night and night. 

You could be alone. 

Severe and honest as a single tree, a single stone. 

Or, like Kurambek Alimozhanov, you might live more mildly 

In a central district, a village in Kazakhastan, 

And look from your cottage to the sun-flooded steppe 

Flat as an eye can see, beginning the desert, 

Noting, like a spar at sea horizon, 

A commune tractor, driven by a Buryat Mongol woman you may 

She has her orders. 

Free breath into the hearty lung 
Breath as the spacious plain, 
Why drawn into the speculative lung 
As if in pain? 

The free grapes of freedom are sour. 
No one knows how to cultivate them. 
The tundras of the breast constrict, 
The enviable spaces horrify us. 

From continental doubt there echoes back 
No intimate evil we would wish to claim 
But icy evils of vast enterprise 
Would kill a man. And maybe has. 



Troubled as was my sister by the crossing 

Blocked by a red light, she stopped, waiting, 

And mused at her own anger. 

Red lights make me see red, she said, 

And the more this one 

When up and down the boulevard near and far 

No car loomed in, the asphalt was all plain 

Waiting to walk across. 

An empty breeze ruffled the kelly jackets, 

Everybody had to get somewhere there, and the world theirs, 

Except the tyrant light which lit and lit 

Against their coming and their going over. 

And my sister said, 

I know I would die 

If many of these lights were set against me: 

A light on buying butter, a gong on lipstick, 

A clang on prayer, red on the morning paper, 

A grievous grievous green on one-way progress. 

My sister turned right around in the empty traffic 

And stamped the continent of Asia under her heel. 

My brother visited a Russian ship 

When it came to the harbor. 

He liked ships, and he liked to talk to people. 

He came away scared. 

It was a black rusted loaded and caked ship 

Nowise shipshape. 

Its captain a woman vast as a bale, 

Its crew darkening from brow to brow 

Cursing and turning away 

From my brother the spy. 

Glades of convenience 
Where we rest and wither 
Give us the sense of charm, 
The early riots 


Blending in together 
Out of the way of harm. 

Peaceful at age 
Whatever age allows us, 
We build the basement room 
To keep in fashion 
Lest the age surprise us 
Before millenium. 

Nook of Victoria, 

In the Afric jungle 

British or even here 

Is what we dread to find not 

In Siberia 

For many another year. 

The bloody children there 
Nor rest nor settle 
Nor speculate their strife 
But spread the globe 
In a perpetual battle 
Against the glades of life 

The golden in agreement 
And midsummer 
Glades of life. 

What does Enemy mean? 

Not who wants what you have, 
He is an envious friend. 
Not who has what you hate, 
He is your fond acquaintance. 
Not who needs what you need, 
He is your fearful stranger. 
But what you are, 


Whose death will be your death, 
Whose life will be your death, 
Who you most are 
And living must not be, 
Your enemy. 

Who can contain 

The furious enemy 

Or the rapt enemy 

Whose death will be your death, 

Whose life will be your death, 

But hold his choking breath 

Until he choke to stone 

And you be stoned alone 

In twinned and double death? 

Yet brother unbeknown 

Must still be alien. 

And there we are lost: 

We cannot put to test 

Our knowledge or love. 

We are pledged to be blind 

By a totality of mind 

Which has said: we shall learn what we already believe, 

Study what we like, 
Behoove what we approve, 
Read our own creed 
Hear our own ear 
Capture our own rapture, 
Making ourselves fit 
To meet an enemy 
And be shot by it. 

What is a total mind 
Fixed in a total state 
But that which denies surprise 
And thinks itself its fate. 


What but a unity 
To which variety seems 
Death and inconsequence 
Out of the lore of dreams. 

What but united states 
In which the rivers run 
All one way 
By an electric sun. 

What but monopoly 
In which the villains are 
Small enough to omit, 
Large enough for 
Major and total war. 

And our monopoly 
Our undivided self 
With no surprise or change 
No vision or remorse 
No rivals and no victors 
And so one enemy. 

And so one total whole 
Vast and incurious 
Autarch and monopole 
And single 


A rider to the reaches of the heart 

Brings in the intolerable Russian news too late. 

Careening, this pony expressman lathers his message 

With fortitude and haste; and all other 

Visible means of communication 

Are still, are stilled. 

Between the continental masses, 

Between the valves of the heart 


Ticks no telegraph, moves no moving picture, 

Circulates no newsprint, black or white or red, 

Beats no blood to believe itself thicker than water, 

Rouses no breath to speak communication 

From one wall to the next. 

And the heart is restive, 

Its chambers laboring in their disparity. 

Outside the room the skies of Russia darken 

Without a sign to us of any kin, 

The infernal plains sever communication, 

The feud of the heart strengthens itself within. 

Yet it is possible somebody here may learn something, 

A touch may tell, an act in hope achieve something, 

A blind sky reveal something, 

A heart a moment free in itself hear somewhere 

A voice alien to its own to the point of amazement 

Speaking a foreign tongue, speak truly, — 

And make in English an impossible answer 

Yet true. Yet true. 

The Campaign 

My Packard Bell was set up in the vacant lot near the stump 

Of the old peach tree. Before it, a love-seat 

In tan and green told us what comfort said. 

And many looked over us, or sat on the ground, why not? 

There certainly were not enough ashtrays for everybody. 

And from there it began. 

All down the dingle through the mustard ran the voices, 

All down the shale in the sunlight ran the faces, 

A board fence on the left and a board fence on the right, 

Because after all this was private property. 


And this is what they said: 

He was a child of the people and he will be a man of the people. 

He read the Bible at his mother's knee 

And that Bible has followed him 

All the days of his life. 

This is what they said: 

The sovereign state of Alabama 

Gives you a leader of the people for the people 

All the days of his life. 

Equal educational opportunity, political opportunity, economic 

Ability, honesty, integrity, widows and orphans. 

Canal Zone deems it a privilege 

To second the nomination of that great 

All the days of his life. 

This is what they said. This is what Cooper Blane 

Representing the sovereign state of New Jersey said. 

Now all the apples in our apple orchard 
Are ripening toward fall 
And on our poles the beans are greening fast 
The pods with sun alert. 

And stubble in the field keeps springing yet 
In fresh weed, white puffs of daisy weed, 
The cat after the gophers 
And the breeze brisk. 

Round the ears of Packard Bell brisks the breeze 
Blows the volume loud and away, 
Puffs of volume pile up in the fence corners 
Where the cat is active. 

What do we understand? 

First of all, we know the speakers are speaking the English language. 

We can tell that from our love-seat, and others agree. 


Second, they are both loud, lively both, and there are two of them. 
Who are you for? 

Now enters from the upper left, the hill slope, 
A dog. After the cat. 
For a while we miss the whole campaign, 
But later the dog comes round for friendship. 
Pats him the taxpayer and the tax receiver. 

Now enters from the upper right a fisherman. 
He leans to hear what's sounding on the screen 
Then wordlessly he fades 
Down the green sidepatch and the cliff steps 
To the roaring bay, leaving no vote behind. 

Ladies and gentlemen, when I spoke to you last 

In Pawtucket, Maine, the tide was coming in 

With a long roar against the shingle of the world. 

And ladies and gentlemen I say to you 

Vote now against corruption, calumny, 

Crime, evil, and corruption, 

For the tide is coming in 

With a long foreign roar against the world. 

Against Winthrop Rockefeller, fair play, 

Farm money, cartels, bourbon, and the fifth districts of the world. 

Slowly comes up the moon over Lottie's rabbit shed, 
Fencing into the sky its bars of protest, 
But the vote midwest moves at another cycle 
Of midnight desperate. 

South Dakota five no, 

Robert J. Martin of the fifth district, no. 

And at the four hundred and eightieth slogan 

The yes and the yes that will survive the midnight. 

One sure thing is 

That the tough tubes on this little old Packard Bell 



Jiggling and jumping in the twi- and moonlight, 

Hot as hornets in the excitement, 

Won't set the beans on fire, and won't 

Harm the cat, and won't 

Even warm us where we sit and listen, 

But will burn away 

Lively as bugs in the midsummer 

To get the last yes and no in the midsummer 

On record to the moon's blanched countenance. 

Who are you for? 


Persons among the flapping clothes 

Are flapping clothes. 

Elevated by the wind aloft as if 

Among branches they burgeon far beyond 

The roots of carrots in the growing ground. 

Grub later, says the rosy dress 
Windf ull, billowing among skirts, 
Jeans, socks, now reach up, 
Be a balloon airborne, a full flower 
On the leafy line. 

Parts from this concourse then the flapping elder, 

Smoothing her dress 

Away from the happy dress, 

To pace the root row, where the prospects 

Cast their shadows on the fallen ground. 



After the yellow schoolbus with the waving windows 
Turned away past the corner, Sanders came over to ask, 
What do you do at school? He never listened 
Long, but galloped on a springtime saddle. 

Where he rode, the wild ponies 
Followed him in droves, so he was always responsible 
And in authority, and could scarcely countenance 
School, when it came the season for him. 

In a crackle of blue jeans he went off to it 

Waving and transportable with success, 

And came back to walk fretfully over the fields, asking 

What do you do at home? 


Silence comes down the street to us in the shape 

Of those three girls. 

They are going to walk past us. 

Dampen down 

The big brag of our coffee morning, 

Hush up 

Our open mouths with their billions of words. 

Quiet falls. 

Now we come walking into this big silence 

Heavy as doom, 

Past this big and impractical thunder 

Heavy as silence. 

Say something, Marvella, Leonia, say, for example, 

Hello there. 



Into the side aisle seats flicker the pony tails, 
Then out to see the fights in the lobby. 
Till the boys come back in too and sit down 
Heavy, angry for the popcorn. 

Then out up the aisle like a troupe 

Of spoon lipped bug eyed sky rimmed angels, 

And damn your lip, and damn your dime, that's my dime, 

And shove — over on a bysitter's hippocket. 

Then flock back in again down the aisle to the seats, birds, 
With the usher patrol now working, flashing its lights 
As club or illumination, to reinterpret 
How love, on the steadying screen, is many-splendored. 


So populous the region 

That from the next region 

The crowing of children, barking of cars could be heard, 

So that a continuous linkage 

Of sounds of living ran 

In the limber air, 

District to district, Woodlake to Montclair, 

Freestone to Smithfield, and one child's cry 

Was not concealed from any trade route, 

Or passer by, 

Or upstairs island of thought withdrawn, 

Or basement of submerged magnificence. 

One crow 

Welkened the evening sky, 

Bark blasted the dark, 

Like an assertion in a time of assent, 

Or an increase to astonishment. 


Three Stages 

When a city undergoes disaster, it moves as a mass 

Through three stages: through daze, 

Then generous effort, then desperation and blame. 

During all these stages, Mrs. P. T. Perkins 

Lay buried under ten feet of debris, pinned down by beams. 

At first she heard sirens, hoped somebody would get her out. 
Later as the night wore away she surrendered her spirit, 
Allowing it was all right that God take her away. 
Finally what she protested to God and her rescuers was, 
It was not proper that she lay there pinned under debris. 


Whatever clime of affection we were raised in, 
The weather changes at the polar cap, 
And radio brings it southward, so we feel it 
In conscience, if not at hand. 

We a temperate country never called Abraham 

To severe account 

Nor drank our teacher dead. 

Now these habits bear in upon us. 

Is it possible that the currents of direction 
Will move two ways? and to the fiery sands 
And the cold voices of old climates 
Will drift our indeterminate amends? 



What is Italian? It is the language spoken 

By a man from Italy. 

Not all in words, in part in phrases, 

Of brow, wrist, lightening 

Of glance, glancing of touch, 

More than the language can take in chance, 

More than the man can take in language. 

Breathing and sighing, some glides over him, 

Sleek, sentential. Italian: that portion 

He apprehends. 

Personal Appearance 

Out of an English mystery which a detective 
Sagged through, followed by a short subject 
On Cornwall, we emerged into a looping storm 
Which chuckled in the gutters unexpected. 

A joke. Now what we need is a nonalcoholic 
Detective with an umbrella. Did you hear? 
Pacing down Elmwood direct you come 
Alight with laughter, nearer and more near, 

Balancing a Japanese paper parasol on your thumb. 
I thought you were Fulbrighting in Burma, unthought of. 
Ever across this screen, outside the dark marquee, 
Pass and repass the characters I love. 


Knowledge of you, knowledge of all the world 
Moves me and moves my sleep 
And is my rattle to my fretting hand, 


Knowledge of you an age I cannot live. 
I told her not to begin, 
I said rest in peace, 
I said mend your ways, 

And when the jaybirds came to the suburbs, they came in 

Knowledge of you, knowledge of business cycles, 
Rent control and farmer legislation. 
Told them to mend their ways, 
Told them to rest in peace 

And when the hundreds of jaybirds came, they came to the 
northern suburbs. 

Geological ground is tempered to the spade, 
An agricultural age I cannot fathom. 

I told her not to begin. 
And real estate is ready for expansion. 
But where's the night school course 
Will count these credits up 
To income tax and pre-professional Spanish? 

Knowledge of all the world. 

Your hundred courses. 


In the train wreck my pieces of life 
Were sidewise laid to track, river, and hill, 
Crosswise and palpable 
To canyon and cliff. 

The damage was, many later could surmise, 
Insured, probable, and full of reason, 
But crosswise stalled in the grave my greatest passion 
Was surprise, surprise. 



Your unmorning look unmornings me 
And takes me out into the tow of time. 
Where's the footing, where's the shelf to be 
If this your ebbing tune? 

Isn't there some east to west event 
For an orb to reflect even so early? 
It's no sixth sense of immortality 
Drifts with such a dreamy eye. 


My gracious friend, whose arts are all refining 
Into the arts of conscience, pity me. 
I cannot bring a blame to such explaining 
I cannot peel a problem to such planning 
Of conscience sacred in its sympathy. 

Where will your care remove you after luncheon? 
To home and shadow of a curtain keeping 
A stripe of dark over your silver sleeping, 
A permanent color in adapted pattern 
To say, I err; to tell you, pity me. 


Many accidents of flesh 
Happen to my own, 
And the gross cause of accident 
Remains unknown. 


I would not believe 
I could nurse so near 
Young misfortune 
And not see it clear. 

But so ever the mystery 
Of disaster was made 
By nymph in forest 
And Olympian god. 

And now ever accident 
Breaks and is laid 
At the long cathedral 
Of the personal head. 


After her pills the girl slept and counted 
Pellet on pellet the regress of life. 
Dead to the world, the world's count yet counted 
Pellet on pill the antinomies of life. 

Refused to turn, the way's back, she counted 
Her several stones across the mire of life. 
And stones away and sticks away she counted 
To keep herself out of the county of life. 

Lost tally. How the sheep return to home 

Is the story she will retrieve 

And the only story believe 

Of one and one the sheep returning home 

To take the shapes of life, 
Coming and being counted. 


Visiting Hour 

He sat in an easy chair by the open window, 
Leaning back with his legs crossed. 
Someone sitting on the bed was intently speaking, 
And he listened intently, answering softly. 

The eastern hill of houses outside his window 
Flung back the sunset light into his evening 
And the smoky shadow gathered 
From inside to out. 

When the one who had spoken picked up her gloves and left him, 

Patting his shoulder, 

He came to the door of the room with her 

And kissed her softly. 

Then he went back to the dark sill of the window 

And knelt there, head on his arms, sometimes 

Softly lifting his head to look at the view, and then dropping it, 

Beating it with his fists. 


Hysteric sparks of self in the ward of night 
Jangle their light to call their care's return. 
In each nook and night, each flashing brain 
Asserts itself 's I want. 

Then what is the self of the long orderly 
Who all the shift strides to the crying signs, 
Strides to the f oglights and the needs' unneeds 
To keep the blood in vein? 


His is the fire of the open hearth 
Tended and mended, till the stray sparks, 
Blown almost away, he brings again 
To its burning brand. 


From the flood of tide to the shore edge how withdraws, 
From the full consonance of waters at the brim how starves 

and stands away, 
How chafes and shallows upon scraping stones, 
Belief, belief. 

Now in the night the vessel of sea 
Brims with the waters we taste in our life 
Cool to the curve and the clear 
Of belief, 
And runs over. 

Now in the day the shocked rubble of stone 

Scrapes at the ebb, and the real 

Bristles of barnacle shells clash in the draining 

Down of belief 

Out of brine. 

And I cannot learn 

How in the flood of tide the shells implicit 

Grate in the sand, how the rocks 

Rack in the stillest full the fact of the ebb 

But in ebb 

Drains down to loss the fiction of belief. 



Then have mercy upon me. 

Let one who has no care, 

Sees not me there, 

Likes not if he sees, 

And would not, had he care, 

Have mercy upon me. 

He is my black mercury 

Against the world's glass 

To which all figures come and pass 

Fair as they are in their own loving sight. 

He is the black night 

Which brings myself to the face of the glass. 

In my indelibility 

Have mercy upon me, 

Quick neutral who does me forget, 

Stand not 

Fast at the sheer glass of my life 

To make my life myself. 


I never learned, did I, who you were, 
What faults you, named for, lived to, 
What life encumbered you, 
What world's cruelties were yours, — only 
Your good outward and intent construction. 

There's my world then, brave as you make it. 

What defeats it suffers, it suffers in despite, 

What harms it happens, happen like defeat 

Not to your knowledge, but to one known beginning, 

Your good outward and intent construction. 



Most that I know but one 
Make me better than I am, 
Freer and more intent, 
Glad and more indolent. 
What shall I think of you 
That makes me worsen? 

Is it a hate I have, 

And if so, what is hate 

That makes me reprobate 

By expectation? 

Or do I learn your lack, 

Not mine, and give it back 

As mine, the empty lack as mine 
That makes me worsen? 
And if you do misread 
Me in your own need, 
Why do I care whose is 
The botched lesson? 

Because I think if one 

Should bring to my mind disdain 

So near destruction, 

I think that I should be 

Crying out, Help me! 

Help me. 


The trouble with happiness, it strikes a fire 

At the desert rock, flares in that camping place 

Hot as an ember reckoned to a brand 

And blaze-white in the sunlight of happiness, the trouble is. 

That desert flat out to its crooked rim 
Has its noontime as a mirror is. 
And by this rock it lets this fire flicker 
Warm to the hand, rose to the rock face flat. 

Every shade surface turned to sun at the campsite 
Reflects the fire in its somber face. 
Starts, trouble is, the sunlight blazing, 
The sunlight blazing in meridial shade. 


I was sitting in what that afternoon I thought to be 

The vacuum of my life, 

Watching the bars of cloud darken over the housetops, 

And calling to mind you, as if from far away, 

As if by conjure to my lonesome wish, 

When lounged in the after-school boy from down the street, 

From his own vacuum, "What's new? " 

Nothing. What's new with you? 

"Well, I'll tell you — " Conjure as ever 

Far from the cause summons its consequence. 

Four Songs 

My body is my night that sleeping lives 
And in an arrogance of quietude, 
Taking of nothing and not taking, gives 
Lees of a lesson to be understood: 

That day, in every coming singular, 
Can come for neither certain help nor harm, 
When the great glory patent in its star 
Wakes and awakens but connot transform. 


Unreasonable happiness troubles me. 
I look at my round face 
And I see, unreasonable happiness 
Is my disgrace. 

My world says be angry, 
And my angry hand 
Turns in its palm more happiness 
Than it can understand. 


In Plato's bed I lie. 
Artistically contrived, 
The bed the carpenter 
Made straitly as he lived 
In life's utility. 

Not so I use the bed, 
But at a still remove 
To sentence and to word 
Paint it and paint it over, 
As it were one I made 

Not Plato's shady third. 

In friendship feeling quiet 

I spent a time asleep, 

And when I woke, the marrow 

Out of my bones ran out 

That you were the friend I dreamt for 

But not the dream I woke for. 

And so I put this down for 

Doubt. For doubt. 



I set my heart out in the noontime sun, 

Telling it to grow warm. 

There is a space of warmth in the sky above, said my heart, 

But not here. 

I put my heart out by the blazing fire, 

Begging it to grow warm. 

There is a space of warmth on the ground below, said my heart, 

But not here. 

I gave my heart into your open hand, 

Praying it to be warm. 

There is a warm space in the world and about, said my heart, 

Even as here. 


I see you displaced, condensed, within my dream, 
Yet here before me in your daily shape. 
And think, can my dream touch you any way 
Or move you as in it you otherwise moved? 

I prosper in the dream, yet may it not 
Touch you in any way or may you move. 
It is the splendor of the possible 
Not to appear in actual shape and form. 

It is the splendor of the actual 

So to be still and still be satisfied, 

That any else or more becomes a dream, 

Displaced, condensed, as by my dreamed regard. 


To Make a Summer 

Sandy says his high-school daughter 
Keeps exclaiming joy, joy. 
The burden of my joy lightens 
With her exclamation. 

It's a generality, it takes 

From my heart the sting of the singular, it sets moving 

In the easy early Berkeley air 

What we incommunicably share. 


In the car where we are 

We take the highway where we are going 

At speed of light past barrier of sound, 

And as we poke the fire 

The immediate telephone rings and rings. 

Not being able to hear the caller's voice, 
Flattened as we are against the seatback 
And not being able to still the flicking fire 
Wide at our hand against the spinning wheel. 
We ask, Who is it, and the silence rings. 

But note at the caution-crossing a small path 

Of a byroad comes, as by a dial 

To find and shake us, and we turn off 

Sharp into the field of sound and fire 

Where the bells are ringing as from bellflowers. 

[i 4 o] 


When the last Pullman of the day pulls into the Grand Canyon 

And in the sunset light the passengers come 
One after another over the platform, over the sward to the rim 
Line up, look down, 

The shadows loom 
Fast into pools bluer than morning, 
Abyss drawn by its river miles from home, 
And they look into it as into an album, 
Where every idiosyncrasy has room. 

Brooklyn, Iowa, and West 

I never lived behind a brick wall. 
Next to brick, plaster 
Seems like paper, a shoji screen 
Insupportable in rough weather. 

The character of brick, its autocracy, 
Defines its protegees as it defends them, 
Gives them a status beyond the reach of weather, 
Gives them a weather beyond the reach of self. 

When I came along the avenue, the rows of brick houses 

Mustered to my bendable spirit, acceded 

As if at six o'clock every evening I had come there 

To the stations of construction rather than to the seasons of change. 

Someone watched the corn in the field — I thought it was 
The sky which breathed across the silk. 


Or I thought it the crow, scared crow, 
Which sloped up and observed. 

But no, a more illimitable eye 
Stood in the dappled shade of the screen door, 
Broadly watching root, blade, and ear 
Each in its individual aptitude. 

When I came to the screen door my Aunt Jessie saw me, 
But only as a fleck in the sight of corn. 
She was watching and growing, she was transforming 
The shade of the porch into the growing sun. 


Grass plunged up to the two lane tires of cars 
And to the doorstep's second step 
And to the whirls 
Of carousels. 

It made a field a park, a wood a glade, 

A store a trianon, 

In stubble 

A velvet double. 

Grass played up around the gaspumps, woodpiles, swings, 
Played the green world so green, I thought I was 
A schooner in a bottle of green glass. 
But it was grass. 

A golden field has its red thresher, 

Its blue sky overhead, its blue breeze. 

At a great distance 

Devotion moves in the field to the red machine, 


Out of isolation and windy spaces, centers 

To its life and wish, each one. Then a gang of threshers 

Gets out on the road — you can hardly reckon 

The individual master, or who serves. 

Suddenly not plowed so deep, the seed is windborne, 

Horses careen where cows would mull over, 

Freights rattle in and out muffled 

By the rocky walls and gullies, a windy crochet 


The first west, as on the leaves of poplars 

Dust greys and golds the deeper vein, 

Dust whirls and lightens, and its thought carries 

From ground to ground a surface 

Like a guess. 

To touch old snow 

Frightens me, to feel 

A flake settle, 

Rest in my palm, and vanish 

Yet rest in the rock, settle 

In a tyranny of space, 

So that each mountain 

Commands a burden 

Of ice so gross 

Its features are singular in weight and stress, 

Its outline as of character 

Thoughtful and fateful. 

When I take 

Into my palm this flake 

And think how long ago 


It fell, and will fall, 
Drifting to hand and brow, 
I touch a glacial snow. 

On the high upland plain, the boys yell in their cars, 
They drive from east to west, still they are on 
The high upland plain, they drive from Mac's to Barbecue, 
Still they are on the high upland plain. 

They yell through the small towns, finally they fall 
Under the steering wheel and sleep, high 
Over them drives the wheel of sky. 
Still they are on the upland plain. 

A river made up its mind at its source; nothing it met 

Deeply troubled it; deflected, stalled, but not varied, it moved 

Seriously down across the continent 

In bountiful sunlight, freighting and purveying, 

Faithful to its fountain, its following shores. 

What could it believe when it came finally 
Into fog, salt and deceptive, into dust 
Dry and sandy, the logs, bars, nets, 
Shells, mixed debris, mixed decisions 
Of the ambiguous ocean? 

To Time 

Space keeps us, time forgives us. 

Dear time 

Unpacks the heart of morning in the night, 

Quiets the heart of summer in the snow, 

Clutters and confuses the still bough 


With a great welt and chaos of newworlds. 


Puts between my question and your answer 

The life of both, and holds them separate. 

Once a girl lost her heart, it was time 

That heard it beating out of its proper sphere. 

Once a boy lost a job, time piled 

Work up all around him, 

And a voter lost a vote, time started printing 

Ballots for the next election. 

Once on a time lets be what still must be. 

Possibility puts its foot down, urges its image 

To say it is not space, to cease 

In order to begin again. 

Sometimes the desperate landlords of space 

Set in to check it and reorder it, 

Tighten each nut and bolt in infra red, 

Tape time. But the wrong man often succeeds them. 

The poetry of the moment has not time 

But loses it into eternity. 

The poetry of location has not time 

Except what bears upon the present scene. 

The poetry of time is necessary 

To do wrongs and redeem them if it can. 

Dear time, in the patient stillness of the world 
You breathe a breath. 
You are the wind upon the unruffled sea. 
You are the Sunday of the heart, its sleep, 
The Monday, its outrageous working day, 
You give us to and give us from ourselves, 
The January of the physical year 
That lets us look both ways. 



Led by Johns Hopkins on a trip through the heart 
To the uttermost reaches of the body, 
I was disappointed by X-ray and camera 
At what was to be found there. 

Mostly I missed the green pastures 
Which I knew lay on either side of the path, 
The running streams of tears in their salty waters, 
Their crystal waters, and the steadfast sheep. 

Sheep of my heart, where do you nibble, 

At the pump of the ventricle, course of the artery, 

That you do not look up into the camera 

To tell on what you feed? 


A radioactive fish is one charged 

With more of the universe that he can bear, 

And in this charge he is familiar. 

Through depths of our galaxy, umbrageous swells, 

Coral canyons, the fish 

Flicker in their schools and perish. 

And we in ours flicker and are consumed 
Whether or not we eat 
Their bread and bait. 

By too much universe we taste our diet 

Enriched until 

One fish, one loaf, one life is bountiful. 

[i 4 6] 


A panther made of whole cloth set out through the suburbs of Los 

Lapping his way as he went. 
Set out to scream in a thicket of Elysian Park 
But did not get there in time. 
Somebody else gave out the scream for him. 

Lonely he wandered, much of an island, 
Behind busses, in refrigerators and matinees. 
To Elysian Park his purposes, 
But never got there, in every underbrush 
Somebody set up such a wailing and crying. 

At night then the big lights and bloodhounds came out for this 

So people could sleep peacefully in their beds once more, 
And found him napping, a perfect figment, 
Just where the S line curves past the ironworks. 
Somebody screamed to see. 


God, a man at Yale, adopted a monkey 

In order to raise him up in his own image, 

But only in some respects could the monk identify, 

Could learn manners, but not the word of God. 

Ah, always it was so, meditated the monkey dazzled and befuddled, 
Out of my tree I fell in the forest of Eden, 
Or if I mannerly ate, it was the wrong apple, 
Or if I climbed I died. 

And this is all, I guess, a semantical series 
Of my ascent and fall. 
His tree is not my tree, His word, my word; 
His Yale, my Yale. 


The Savages 

As we rowed from our ships and set foot on the shore 
In the still coves, 
We met our images. 

Our brazen images emerged from the mirrors of the wood 
Like yelling shadows, 
So we searched our souls, 

And in that hell and pit of everyman 
Placed the location of their ruddy shapes. 
We must be cruel to ourselves. 

Then through the underbrush we cut our hopes 

Forest after forest to within 

The inner hush where Mississippi flows 

And were in ambush at the very source, 
Scalped to the cortex. Yet bought them off. 
It was an act of love to seek their salvation. 

President Jackson asked, 

What good man would prefer a forested country ranged with 

To our extensive republic studded with cities 
With all the improvements art can devise or industry execute? 

Pastor Smiley inquired, 

What good man would allow his sins or his neighbors' 

To put on human dress and run in the wilds 

To leap out on innocent occasions? 

Miss Benedict proposed, 

The partial era of enlightenment in which we live 
Brings Dionysus to the mesa and the cottonwood grove, 
And floats Apollo to the barrows of the civic group 
To ratify entreaties and to harp on hope. 

[i 4 8] 

Professor Roy Harvey Pearce quoted, 

These savages are outlandish Tartars and Cain's children, 

Though someone reported once, "They do not withhold assent 

From the truth set forth in a credible manner." 

Is it possible? 

Henry David Thoreau, 

The most popular highbrow overseas reading-material 

For our armed forces, because while they work and wait 

They see before them in the green shade 

His ruddy image, said, as his last word when he died, Indians. 

Reading today this manual of wisdom, 
In the still coves 
We meet our images 

And, in ambush at the very source, 
Would buy them off. It is an act of love 
To seek their salvation. 

One party to the purchase 

Receipts the purchase price and hands us back 

His token of negotiation which redeems: 

We cannibals must help these Christians. 


When Sisyphus was pushing the stone up the mountain, 

Always near the top, 

As you remember, at the very tip of the height, 

It lapsed and fell back upon him, 

And he rolled to the bottom of the incline, exhausted. 


Then he got up and pushed up the stone again, 

First over the grassy rise, then the declivity of dead man's gulch, 

Then the outcroppings halfway, at which he took breath, 

Looking out over the rosy panorama of Helicon; 

Then finally the top 

Where the stone wobbled, trembled, and lapsed back upon him, 

And he rolled again down the whole incline. 


He said a man's reach must exceed his grasp, 

Or what is Hades for? 

He said, it's not the goal that matters, but the process 

Of reaching it, the breathing joy 

Of endeavor, and the labor along the way. 

This belief damned him, and damned, what's harder, 

The heavy stone. 


One who has seen at her side flash by 
The rough will of a slight scape girl, 
At her wrist the hawk of soul tied to credit, 
Is lifted up in a constellation. 

One who has signed signatures of progress 
And mustered judgments 
For the sake of the motion forward, is taxied 
Across a field, the sky pulling the motors. 

Gives up to the agency of wings 
Every further choice forward, and fastens 
The belt of a fate welcome 
To Icarus. 

[ i5° 


When fate from its plane stepped down 

And had its photo snapped for me in full color, 

I did not know it, but it had 

The hundred faces of some Christmas cards. 

The severe faces of ftvz year old 

Wilsons and Oppenheimers, and the Pandits, the round 

Fortunes of immediate Presidents 

Who will not read Pascal. 

Also the crazy faces of leadership 
That find their goodness in their morning cup. 
To whom I said, Welcome ambassadors. And they, 
Which of your hundred faces calls us home? 


The gang wanted to give Oedipus Rex a going away present. 
He had been a good hard-working father and king. 
And besides it is the custom in this country 
To give gifts on departure. 

But we didn't know what to give Oedipus; he had everything. 
Even in his loss, he had more than average. 
So we gave him a travelling case, fitted, which we personally 
Should have liked to receive. 



Goliath stood up clear in the assumption of status, 
Strong and unquestioning of himself and others, 
Fully determined by the limits of his experience. 
I have seen such a one among surgeons, sergeants, 
Deans, and giants, the power implicit. 

Then there was David, who made few assumptions, 
Had little experience, but for more was ready, 
Testing and trying this pebble or that pebble, 
This giant or that giant. 
He is not infrequent. 

How could Goliath guess, with his many assumptions, 
The force of the slung shot of the pure-hearted? 
How could David fear, with his few hypotheses, 
The power of status which is but two-footed? 
So he shot, and shouted! 


When the quanta jostle in the field of the body, 
The body is lord of the field. 
What will he tell his many feudal nobles, 
How to subside? 

He's a lonesome baron, the white rose and the red 
Fighting his wars over his rib-cage, 
Alert to siege or starvation or the charger 
Run in the ditch. 

And so he changes his ground, says he is a quantum 
In the field of the universe; then all goes better. 
Beggar or banker, he's a free soul under another lord, 
An easy particle in the managerial revolution. 


I will likewise pack up my troubles in a bundle 
So compact they cannot war and wrangle, 
And go out into the democratic vistas, 
A mobile unit, to jibe or join. 

So that of what will happen much will happen 
In fief and out, and though I may not be there, 
I will vote with the minor party, and condition 
The entire domain. 


From his small city Columbus 
Set sail in the floodtide of sunlight. 
The boxes of buildings 
Basked in secular light. 

The damp interiors 
Of shops on the hill streets 
Dried in the golden heat, 
The stairways dry and bright. 

The hills stepped down in ranks 
To the spacious harbor, 
The whole town afforded 
The patient splendor 

Of the widest sundry sunshine 
Over rank and section 
Over room and apartment 
Over court and altar. 

What had then to do Columbus 
With a Spanish ocean 
Seamews and curlews 
In a brisk brine? 


But that he envisioned at its far golden 
Corner another 
Such a tiered city 
High and dry? 


It is said that certain orientational concepts of an ontological sort 
Such as despair, sin, salvation, loneliness 
Derive a certain richness from experience. 

I noticed today at the Rose Bowl Parade 

In the Romeo and Juliet float representing Wonder Bread, 

How lonely Romeo shirtsleeved 

In the frosty morning air looked, saluting 

(i) the balcony made of thousands of blossoms of pink winter 

And (2) the curbstone crowd. 

This won the sweepstakes prize, yet Juliet 
Smiled in despair in the frosty morning air, 
Receiving her certain richness from experience. 


What soul disinherits itself, goes riding 

Over its wide acres 

Saying not stick or stone of this is mine? 

Rides on its wide highways 

Yet claims not stopsign nor its steady curb? 

Lifts into altitudes 

With pacifiers to the slow drowse? 


It is the royal soul, which well loves 

Daughter, daughter, and daughter, and gives to them 

Itself as gift, a gift and giver bare 

To ease the burden of the capital. 

But will interest pay 

To such a pensioner 

Without his sky? 

All my sons and daughters rose like a flock of birds 
And flew north into springtime. 

Now I must 

Take back my sundry riches to myself 

And see the roadways skyways of my realm 

As indivisible, 

Needing repair. 


As George Washington hacked at his cherry tree, 

Joseph said to him 

This is the tree that fed Mary 

When she lingered by the way. 

As George Washington polished his bright blade, 

Joseph told him 

This cherry tree 

Bent down and nourished the mother and her babe. 

As George Washington felled the cherry tree, 

Voices of root and stem 

Cried out to him 

In heavenly accents, but he heard not what they had to say. 

Rather, he was making 
A clearing in the wilderness, 
A subtle discrimination 
Of church and state, 


By which his little hatchet 
Harvested a continental 
Bumper crop for Mary 
Of natural corn. 


A young stranger came into town, looking for trouble — 
Virus or seed, how could we tell quick enough? 
We met immediately to map out our strategy, 
And forcefully gathered in our grey beards toward the heart of 

Antibodies, fighting the old fight again. Vigilant 

We moved softly and effectively in upon the young stranger. 

He never knew what hit him. But against him 

We were not, and would never be, immune. 


We are already on the moon, 

We make such minerals in the vacuum 

Furnace of the electric beam. 

Their molecules together run 

One every mile, in density 

And pressure of the lunar cone. 

In the new lab down on the waterfront 
The tides of moon draw, fibres of the heart 
Compress, constrict, till from this metal shape 
Flows out a foil as thin and consequent 
As moon on water and as moon on wing, 
As moon on man the gold foil of his brain. 



Is the face of the universe its familiar 

Countenance of mountains of the world and moon, 

Gallaceous nebulae and mild meadows 

And the fence rails of these features we discern? 

Its spirit behind these of mystery to us, 

Loud in the whirlwind, soft in the breathing land, 

Speaking a self beyond the dusts of summer, 

A truth intemperate to the facts at hand? 

Or is the face of the universe turned from us, 
Its speech straight and simple in return? 
Whichever, either, we must answer 
That voice and face tell not the same concern. 
And this hard answer, not from the universal 
Voice, but from ours, our face, our voice, we learn. 


Channels of happening as they run deep and deeper 
Utter happening through tongue and hand, 
So that our lives are a story, a film, a murmur, 
A glaze of a berg of what we are. 

So sadly I consider, to think how it happens 

For the tradeless lives of avalanche 

That their film is a crown and concealment, their story 

A fit not fiction, their whisper counter. 

Then it must break, against the press of happening, 
Which has no hand to hold, tongue to tell it, 
In its heart is hid and gets no language 
Or in its hiding hurt, speaks out wordless. 


I think of my friend for whom to speak of surface 
Is now impossible lingo of desperation, 
And think what icy impasse I could draw from 
To haul this deep up to a gloss of sea. 


The serpent was a risky incarnation 
Which panned out badly for the human soul 
Because its joy was jealous, and its ration 
Incontinently post-imperial. 

The couple was a daring incarnation 
In the diversity of its several sin, 
To seek self-knowledge, and in explanation 
To argue with itself and then give in. 

The martyr was a desperate incarnation 
That drove its patient suffering to the wall 
Bearing the tree and flesh, and in duration 
Being the blasted brother of us all. 

The child is an impatient incarnation 
In whom aggression clamors without fear, 
Self-knowledge murmurs, pathos in elation 
Cries to its wide sympathos everywhere. 

And now the bird is given its incarnation, 
The spirit on its wing, the wing in flight, 
The flight empyreal and of a station 
Space-centered, space-patrolled, and out of sight. 

While it wins back to heaven, and heaven incarnate 
Spins on the sphere whose light we cannot see, 
Our failed flesh labors in an earthly landscape 
The preconceptions of its deity. 



A light year is a cell year. 

Nothing harries it on but its own speed, 

Nothing halts it but its round roll. 

It rushes through space as through a lifetime of incarceration. 

Unconscionable to me is the speed of a light year 

Which I cannot follow with my mind's eye 

Or hear rushing and rattling with my heart's ear, 

But stands still around me in the perpetual moment of the universe. 

In the real year into which I was born, 
Autumn succeeds summer and every flower 
Lives hastily through the steps of its day 
Filled with the clamor of seconds and happenings. 

How can I fathom the millenial views 

Of sky from cell walls which appertain 

To eternity, when here at hand 

Gardens of time happen, come into bloom, fade, happen again? 


I saw a work so good, 
Strong, delicate, and exact, 
It breathed a cool wind 
In a breathless day 
And set the day in my heart 
Like a bronze plaque. 

I thought of its maker apt 
In his youth to this work, 
And I turned to his son to say 
Thank you for him, thank him. 
But did not, not to bring 
To his face that shade. 


I saw the sunny round 

And restless warmth of the son 

In his own energy rapt 

To his own will, and learned 

How after the father's work 

We are Joseph's sons. 






FEB- h '67 ML 


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